Public Engagement

NCEO Public Engagement

NCEO takes part in a wide ranging number of public engagement activities from attendance at large public events such The Big Bang Fair and Farnborough Air show to smaller events such as school visits and workshops. We endeavor to communicate Earth observation and environmental science in an accessible manner to as much of the public as possible. As a NERC centre we align with the NERC Public Engagement Policy.

Earth Observation Detective

The EO Detective project is part of the Principia education programme, funded by the UK Space Agency and NERC, associated with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s six-month stay on the International Space Station. As part of EO Detective, children were invited to enter a competition to win a photograph taken especially for them from the ISS. Teaching resources for key stages two to five were also produced. Follow on funding from UKSA has allowed NCEO to develop career activities and games relating to Earth observation science.

More information about EO Detective and links to our resources can be found on our blog.

Follow EO Detective on twitter @EODetective

The EO Detective teaching materials

Every day UK scientists use imagery taken from space, including astronaut photography, to better understand Earth’s changing environment – from weather and climate to animal migration.

The EO Detective teaching materials bring 50 years of astronaut photographs and satellite images of the Earth into the classroom. Using these beautiful and interesting images, you can discover how Earth Observation Scientists investigate our changing world – and also study concepts and ideas from maths, science, geography and computing. You can download taster activities and complete resource packs and teacher guides from ESERO-UK.


The EO Detective Competition
To enter, children aged from 7–16 were asked to explain where on Earth they would like an astronaut to photograph and why. There were around a thousand entries coming from Inverness to the Isle of Wight, from Belfast to Norwich, and an extra category had to be added for younger children.

Senior NCEO staff including the director, John Remedios, judged the competition and had great difficulty selecting the winners because of the wide range of locations and the interesting reasons entrants gave for choosing them.

A big well done to everyone who entered. And congratulations to:


Age 4–7

Samuel Gower from Fairfield Academy, Grimsby

Rainforest near Manaus, Brazil – to look at deforestation

Age 7–11

Loke Egede-Poulsen from Tilehurst

Lake Eyre, South Australia – to see what it looks like, full for the first time in years

Age 11–14

Zak Hughes from North Yorkshire

Al Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan – to compare with empty desert a few years ago

Age 14–16

Sebastian Steiner from Virginia Water

Fair Oaks, Indiana – to investigate methane emissions near pig farms


Age 4–7

Eleanor Rayner from Hagley (in Reception, so one of the youngest entrants)

Knysna, South Africa – to see if it’s possible to see the elephants in the forest

Lance Howell from Codsall

Pyramids – to show his teacher you can see man-made things from space and look at swirling sand

George James Lever from Richard Taylor Church of England Primary School, Harrogate

Angel Falls, Venuzuela – to find out if they are visible and if you can see how fast the water flows

Age 7–11

Nicolás Maravall from Westdene Primary School, Brighton

Leticia and Tabatinga, meeting of three countries in the Amazon – to see if you can see differences in deforestation between the countries

Elodie Biegman from Kensington Prep School, London

Central Beijing at night – to look at light pollution

Age 11–14

Cordelia Lamming from Wycombe Abbey School, High Wycombe

Inle Lake, Burma – to see if global warming and increasing tourism have affected water levels and the region around the lake

Age 14–16

Stephen Hughes from All Hallows Catholic College, Macclesfield

The Great Green Wall, Senegal – to see if it is affecting temperature and soil moisture levels