SSEP - SuperSites Exploitation Platform 


The present document describes the services rendered by the SuperSites Exploitation Platform (SSEP) at Release 1.0 and it is intended to inform potential users of the services on the capabilities of the platform, the related support services and the terms and conditions applied.

The document is organized along the following sections:

-          Functional Scope

-          Content Scope

-          Service Support

-          Terms and Conditions

Functional Scope 

SSEP Release 1.0 is meant to allow scientists to easily exploit EO data resources by combining fast data access, processing facilities and flexibility for the user own data analysis.

The platform develops in three main services:

1.       Data Access

2.       Data Processing Services

3.       PaaS (Platform as a Service)

Data Access includes the possibility to perform catalogue queries and download EO products via http. Both catalogue query and data download can be accessed interactively through a web browser http://eo-virtual-archive4.esa.int/) or invoked via command line utilities. In turn, theses utilities are made available in the PaaS and, also, as Open Source Software.

Data Processing Services enable users to invoke processing of data available in the repository using a number of well know tools and download the results. Data processing can be invoked interactively though a web browser (http://gpod.eo.esa.int/) or invoked though scripting using WPS.

PaaS enables users to perform their data exploitation activities with large flexibility and autonomy by using one or several virtual hosts directly provisioned on the Cloud platform where the data sits. Users can, therefore, use PaaS to efficiently access data and processing services and immediately elaborate the results using analysis and visualization tools available in PaaS or directly installed in the PaaS by the user. More detailed description and access at SSEP CloudToolbox

In addition users can also open their own accounts on the Cloud and directly provision their IaaS independently the SSEP Services. At this release, the Cloud Provider for SSEP is Interoute (http://www.interoute.com/) from their data centre at Geneva.

Content Scope 

SSEP is specialized for the exploitation of EO data resources in the context of the Geohazards SuperSites and therefore the platform has been sourced with the following contents:


Over 50,000 SAR scenes (>13TB) related to Geohazards SuperSites and some other areas of interest from ERS and ENVISAT. The data is available over the supersites below (for definitions of the terms see http://supersites.earthobservations.org/Supersites_Definitions_final.pdf):

Earthquake Supersites: Istanbul, Turkey; Tokyo, Japan; Los Angeles, USA; Vancouver and Seattle, Canada and USA

Volcano Supersites:Campi Flegreii and Vesuvius, Italy; Mt Etna, Italy; Hawaiian volcanoes, USA

Event Supersites: Tohoku-oki; Chile; Haiti; Wenchuan, China

Other Events - Significant earthquake or volcanic eruptions that affected less than one million people and therefor do not qualify as event Supersites: Van, Turkey; Baja California, Mexico; Yushu, China; Eyjafjallajökul, Iceland; L'Aquila, Italy

Detailed coverage maps (both spatial and temporal) are available on the Virtual Archive 4 Data Resources wiki page.



Processing Services

-      Gamma

The GAMMA SAR and Interferometry Software is a collection of programs that allows processing of SAR, interferometric SAR (InSAR) and differential interferometric SAR (DInSAR) data for airborne and spaceborne SAR systems. The software supports the entire processing from raw data to high level products such as digital elevation models, displacement maps,  point target analysis and landuse maps. The software is arranged in packages, each dealing with a specific aspect of the processing.

-      NEST

The Next ESA SAR Toolbox (NEST) is an open source (GNU GPL) toolbox for reading, post-processing and analysing the large archive of data (from Level 1) from ESA SAR missions including ERS-1 & 2, ENVISAT and in the future Sentinel-1.

-      SBAS

The DInSAR Small BAseline Subsets (SBAS) algorithm has been developed by the scientists of Italy's Istituto per il Rilevamento Elettromagnetico dell' Ambiente (IREA-CNR) for monitoring temporal evolution of surface deformations. The technique is based on an appropriate combination of differential interferograms produced by data pairs characterized by a small orbital baseline in order to limit the spatial decorrelation phenomena. Moreover spatial and temporal information in the processed data are used to identify and filter out atmospheric phase artifacts. The algorithm has been proved to be well suited for analysing long time-series to observe subsidence phenomena or map rapid deformations (e.g . earthquakes) and to characterize and  monitor volcanic phenomena.

-      GMTSAR

GMTSAR is an open source (GNU General Public License) InSAR processing system which has three main components:

  • a preprocessor for each satellite data type (e.g., ERS, Envisat) to convert the native format and orbital information into a generic format
  • an InSAR processor to focus and align stacks of images, map topography into phase, and form the complex interferogram
  • a postprocessor, mostly based on the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT), to filter the interferogram and construct interferometric products of phase, coherence, phase gradient, and line-of sight displacement in both radar and geographic coordinates.

-      PF-ASAR

ESA operational L1 processor developed by MDA. Latest product specification at: ASAR Product Specification. Use of this processor may be necessary as most data available in SSEP is provided at Level 0 (raw data).


This service provides scientific developers with an Exploitation Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
It consists of a development environment for processor integration and testing, and a framework for Cloud provisioning. The Developer Cloud Sandbox PaaS allows you to plug scientific applications written in a variety of languages (e.g. Java, C++, IDL, Python, R), then deploy, automate, manage and scale them in a very modular way. The algorithm integration is performed from within a dedicated Virtual Machine, running initially as a simulation environment (sandbox mode) that can readily scale to production (cluster mode). Accessed from an harmonized Shell environment, support tools also facilitate the data access and workflow management tasks. The developed applications can become a G-POD Service.
The Developer Cloud Sandbox PaaS is provided by Terradue (http://www.terradue.com).

Virtual hosts are made available with different server sizes (small, medium, large) with the following configuration:

  • Default Hw: small (2CPU, 2GB RAM), medium (4CPU, 4GB RAM), large (8CPU, 8GB RAM) with all Sandbox Mode instances coming with 110GB Disk, extensible by 100GB increments
  • OS: CentOS 6
  • Software Licensed: GAMMA software suite including IPT
  • Other software pre-installed: NEST, BEAM, command line utilities for data staging

Service Support 

SSEP users  will be supported through an ESA provide support and related support web site.

SSEP support line is available at:  rss.tep@esa.int  during CET working hours.

SSEP support web site is available at: http://wiki.services.eoportal.org/tiki-view_forum.php?forumId=70

Terms and Conditions 

The SSEP data access service is available to all users registered with ESA at: http://eosupport.eo.esa.int/sso/registration.php

Processing Services are available on user request and subject to the terms of ESA’s processing-on-demand services available at: http://wiki.services.eoportal.org/tiki-download_wiki_attachment.php?attId=1483&page=GPOD+Wiki

PaaS Services are provided for beta-testing. Beta-testers are inteded to use the service for the sake of verifying its stability and suitability to perform EO exploitation work in the future. ESA does not take any responsability on the availability and performance of the PaaS services.

PaaS Services are provided under a quota schema by which users can access the platform configured with a certain default hw configuration and for a defined amount a working days. After that trial period, users can request an extension to ESA or establish a direct commercial relation with Interoute's cloud services.

Furthermore the PaaS service is based on the underlying cloud service of Interoute Virtual Data Centre (VDC) and therefore their terms and conditions also apply.

SSEP Evolution

The SSEP is evolving in the Geohazards Exploitation Platform (GEP) or geohazards platform, originally the Supersites Exploitation Platform, the platform specialized for the exploitation of EO data resources in the context of the Geohazard Supersites & Natural Laboratories. The platform has been expanded to address broader objectives of the geohazards community. In particular it is a contribution to the CEOS Pilot on Seismic Hazards and, partly, the CEOS Pilot on Volcanoes. The geohazards platform is sourced with elements – data and processing including INSAR – relevant to the geohazards theme. It is ESA flaghip in the Helix Nebula initiative.

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Page last modified on Friday 17 of June 2016 10:04:38 CEST by .