Two decades ago redundancy led to David Taylor turning his hobby into a business - SatSignal.
07, December 2020
Now, David, from Edinburgh, is one of the most well-known users of EUMETSAT data.
His software company, SatSignal, set up in the early 2000 provides software, support and guidance for people wanting to access satellite data.
David explains how it all started: "After I was made redundant from my job as a communications security manager I had problems finding work. So I decided to start writing my own software. It started as a hobby, but in 2003 I discovered EUMETCast and was lucky because my program worked for that.
"When the issues with MSG-1 (Meteosat-8) led to the extension of the EUMETCast service, I was again fortunate — I had the right software at the right time and what was a hobby became a business."
Now David provides software programs to help people access data from Meteosat and Metop satellites, plus some of the NOAA and Japanese satellites.
Over the years David has built-up a valuable working relationship with EUMETSAT and is often called upon to take part in user testing. Most recently he was a tester on the major project to migrate from DVB-S to DVB-S2. He presented his findings at the EUMETCast User Forum, Video of David's presentation
As well as developing the software David spends a lot of his time helping users to set up reception stations and to solve technical issues they might encounter. He is a well-known and respected member of GEO and various online support groups. He also has an active Twitter account, where he reaches out to a wider audience.
"I'm not your traditional type of user, as I started from the software/ technological side. But I'm also interested in photography, so once I'd set the system up, I started to get interested in what was in the images.
"I try to educate other amateur users on how to interpret and understand the data. I find people particularly like images of tropical storms and cyclones. When I started the imagery was all black and white, now there is high resolution colour imagery. This will only increase with the new programmes like Meteosat Third Generation."
David believes anyone interested in satellite data should try out a EUMETCast reception station.
"Using EUMETCast is not simple, you can’t just plug it in. It's not like an app on the iPad. But if you have a bit of computer know-how and a satellite dish and are prepared to do a bit of research, then you will be rewarded. There is a lot of support online and I would encourage anyone interested in satellite data to give it a go."
David’s website has a wealth of information on using his software and EUMETCast.