Coastal regions are generally conceived as highly advanced in terms of socioeconomic and innovative development. Acting as international contact zones, coastal agglomerations are described as gateways for absorbing new knowledge, technologies, business cultures, etc. Yet, this perception is based on studies of large coastal cities and agglomerations. In our study, we focus on coastalization effects manifested in rural settlements and evaluate the innovation capability of the economies of coastal rural areas. The research scope covers 13 municipalities of the Leningrad region, including 134 rural settlements. The research methodology is structured into three main blocks: the evaluation of the human capital, assessment of the favorability of the entrepreneurial environment, and analysis of susceptibility of local economies to innovations. The list of analyzed innovation dynamics parameters includes the geospatial data for the distribution of population, companies and individual entrepreneurs, localization of specialized support and innovation infrastructure, sectoral analysis of the economic structure, digitalization aspects, et cetera. The data coverage period is 2010–2019 with variations depending on the availability of individual indicators. The research findings reveal particular features of the countryside as compared to urban settlements. Strong asymmetries are observed between the development of rural settlements cross-influenced by coastalization, near-metropolitan location, and national border proximity.
APEX (Airborne Prism EXperiment) is a high spectral and spatial resolution hyperspectral sensor developed by a Swiss-Belgian consortium on behalf of the European Space Agency. Since the acceptance of the instrument in 2010, it has been operated jointly by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO, Mol, Belgium) and the Remote Sensing Laboratories (RSL, Zurich, Switzerland). During this period, several flight campaigns have been performed across Europe, gathering over 4 Terabytes of raw data. Following radiometric, geometric and atmospheric processing, this data has been provided to a multitude of Belgian and European researchers, institutes and agencies, including the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Facility for Airborne Research (EUFAR) and the Belgian Science Policy Office (BelSPO). The applications of APEX data span a wide range of research topics, e.g. landcover mapping (mountainous, coastal, countryside and urban regions), the assessment of important structural and (bio)physical characteristics of vegetative and non-vegetative species, the tracing of atmospheric gases, and water content analysis (chlorophyll, suspended matter). Recurrent instrument calibration, accurate flight planning and preparation, and experienced pilots and instrument operators are crucial to successful data acquisition campaigns. In this paper, we highlight in detail these practical aspects of a typical APEX data acquisition campaign.