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Image Information Mining Conference: The Sentinels Era

The registration to the Conference jointly organised with the EU SatCen and JRC is now open!


Earth Observation (EO) data has increased significantly over the last decades with sensors collecting terabytes of data per day. Meanwhile, the advent of sub-meter resolution Optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors brought new dimensions to application areas with the consequence that the observed details has grown dramatically. Moreover, decades of EO image time series will be continued in the future describing land cover and/or scene evolution and dynamics. The forthcoming Copernicus programme will further change our view over data availability ensuring up to 2020 the long-term, regular observation and monitoring of the atmosphere, oceans, and continental surfaces, providing reliable, validated and guaranteed information to support a broad range of environmental and security applications and decisions. The Sentinels missions will not only be a driver for economic growth, encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises to develop user-driven services they will as well set the challenge for research and development activities on how to augment the usability of the millions of images and EO products being collected to a larger and larger group of end user applications.



Earth Observation Data Science

The forthcoming Ninth Conference on Image Information Mining, which will be held at the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) in Bucharest (Roumania) on March 05-07, 2014, will gather the international specialists from academia, institutions and industry.

The call for papers is open right now, you all are invited to submit your abstract!

The conference will offer the occasion to discuss the need and opportunity for a widening of the traditional image information mining topics, to encompass not only the multi-temporal image analysis, but as well other topics including the Big Data (from space) one.

To achieve this goal we expect that besides the image information mining traditional topics the keynote speakers will foster a fruitful discussion on topics such as:

  • how to achieve synergy with sister domains like time series analysis, data and visual analytics

  • how to exploit research and development of multi-dimensional and scalable database solutions, including no sql databases and the linked open data publishing model

  • the need for a large collaborative and long lasting effort on crowdsourcing, benchmarking, image and feature annotation and evaluation

  • how to establish a theoretical framework to bridge the semantic gap and be able to assign “discriminating power” to extracted features and “categorization” of extracted classes/objects

  • how to achieve high quality software and algorithm developments able to reach at least the “software prototype” readiness level


and last but not least the need for programmatic frameworks to support the widening of competence and expertise in several research centres/industrial actors in Europe and worldwide on image information mining and Earth Observation Data Science.

The OGC requests comment on the candidate standard, OGC® OpenSearch Geo and Time Extensions

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) is seeking comments on the candidate standard, "OGC® OpenSearch Geo and Time Extensions". This document extends the implementation of the popular OpenSearch technologies so that users can take advantage of the geospatial search capabilities enabled by OGC standards.

Different types of content require different types of search engines. OpenSearch (http://www.opensearch.org) provides a standard way of describing search engine capabilities so that they can be leveraged by search client applications like modern Web browsers. The OGC® OpenSearch Geo and Time Extensions candidate standard provides a very simple way to configure OpenSearch for spatial and temporal queries over distributed repositories of contents having geographic and time properties, and for syndication of these search results in one large index.

Digital resources are becoming more complex and diverse, and this is especially true with respect to sensor data and Web connected sensors. Such data is increasingly becoming discoverable and usable through open interfaces that implement OGC standards (http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards), but most of this data remains undiscoverable via popular search engines. The OGC OpenSearch Geo and Time Extensions candidate standard specifies how to enhance search engines and configure them to access sensor data servers, so that users can query resource URLs through search combinations of time extents, geographic areas or location names, and likely keywords.

The OGC® OpenSearch Geo and Time Extensions draft standard includes work undertaken within the GENESI-DR (Ground European Network for Earth Science Interoperations - Digital Repositories) project funded by the 7th Framework program of the European (EC Grant Agreement no. 212073) and the follow-up project GENESI-DEC (Ground European Network for Earth Science Interoperations - Digital Earth Community) funded by the same program (Contract nº RI-261623). The document was further supported by the ESA HMA (Heterogeneous Missions Accessibility) initiative and related projects.

The following organizations submitted this document to the Open Geospatial Consortium:

  •    Terradue Srl
  •    FGDC
  •    FortiusOne, Inc.
  •    EDINA
  •    Cubewerx Inc.

Download the candidate OGC OpenSearch Geo and Time Extensions Standard from the request page http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/requests/116. Comments are due by 13 December, 2013.

All OGC standards are free and publicly available.

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 475 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC Standards support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC Standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org/contact.


Contact:  info at opengeospatial.org

ESA to host the September 2013 OGC TC Meeting

The ESA-ESRIN establishment in Frascati Italy, will host the September '13 Technical Committee and Planning Committee meetings of the Open Geospatial Consotrium. With the European industry, university and research membership growing this reperesents an excellent opportunity to look at geospatial standards from a very "space" oriented perspective. 

A collocation meeting is foreseen with the HMA Architecture Working Group !

Summary of the Workshop Models for Scientific Exploitation of EO data: Innovation, harmonization, technology


The workshop has been organised by the HMA Architecture Working Group and held in ESA-ESRIN on 11th and 12th October, 2012. The objective of the workshop was to bring together data - and mission- owners with the research institutions and scientists using shared collaborative Ground Segment systems, to discuss the:

-         Collaborative definition of a harmonized research and service support model, systems and related processes and the evolution of the ESA’s RSS systems and operations.

-         Identification of technology, harmonisation requirements and Ground segment data service models finalized to the federation of payload data ground segment services to the scientific community

The workshop was attended from about 60 participants from ASI, CNES, DLR, EUMETSAT, UK Space Agency, universities (TU Vienna, Florence, Rome), industry (e.g. Brockmann, Spacebel, Telespazio, e.geos, Logica, 52deg North,…) research centres and institutions (e.g. VITO, INGV, ISIC, CNR, …). From the 21 presentations, given during the two-day workshop, and the round table, following elements can be summarised:

-         As observed on other fora, there is a convergence by data users towards the establishment of shared platforms, systems or facilities where data is made available for processing: examples are

o   DLR’s CATENA towards internal PIs,

o   CNES Thematic Centres concept with data processing and archiving facilities ,

o   ISIC’s CEMS,

o   VITO’s projects SSEGrid and ESE,

o   Brockmannn Consult Calvalus experience,

o   ESA RSS service and the G-POD, SSEPs such as the Geohazard “supersites” and others

-         There is a tendency to address specific thematic areas of interest such as: Climate Change (UK), Vegetation Monitoring (Belgium) , Hydrology (Austria) ,Earthquake, Landslide and Volcanoes (Italy). At the same time some countries show a large variety of thematic interests (see France and Germany). All of these would lead to requirements for thematic data subsets of a multitude of missions; none of them would assure a long term data archiving concept or commit to operational onward distribution.

-         The concept of shared platforms, where data is made available to scientists for processing, has been preliminary adopted by innovation initiatives (ISIC), research institutes (e.g.: VITO), business company (e.g.: Brockmann Consult) and in various forms by Agencies (e.g.: ESA, DLR, CNES)

The final round table, fed a very lively discussion of users expecting  ESA to continue enhancing collaboration, federation  and harmonization of data and processing resources. The main outcomes therefore were:

-         There was a large consensus on the need to foster collaboration and further exploit the concept of “collaborative ground segment”, data and infrastructure sharing and guidelines.

-         There is a clear statement that such collaborative environments shall be based upon, free and open access to data and access to resources beyond the national boundaries.

-         Scientists feel that Sentinel scientific exploitation is unaffordable to them with their current infrastructure due to the high data volumes.

-         Participants underlined the huge benefits of synergic exploitation of EO data collected from different missions with different spatial resolution and acquisition frequency (e.g. S1, Cosmo-Skymed, TerrasarX) and available under different data policies.

-         Participants support the emerging collaborative models in data processing, user-data centers, shared processing (see e.g.: Vienna University of Technology, University of Florence, INGV) however always relying on ESA for the long term data archives and access and some infrastructure support and interfaces for their own processing models.

-         There is a clear need for testing, harmonising and standardising the user-infrastructures already in place, in order to establish the terms for evolution and further collaboration. A test workplan and further plans for standardisation and harmonisation will be set up shortly by the HMA AWG.

The HMA Technical Manual freely available for download


HMA TM-21The Heterogeneous Missions Accessibility Technical Manual is now freely downloadable from the ESA publications web site. This book provides an high level view on the results of several years of harmonisation and standardisation work in  the critical area of ground segment interoperability of Earth Observation satellite missions.  Under the auspices of the Ground Segment Coordination Body, the coordinated effort of more than two dozen European space and downstream industries, research centres, agencies and institutions has made a significant contribution to the definition of geospatial standards published within the Open Geospatial Consortium and has brought together different national programmes and systems.

If your responsibility includes the design and implementation of a system of systems based on data from Earth Observation missions and geospatial data, then the HMA Technical Manual provides an insight into the kinds of geospatial interface standards available and their benefits. It also describes how the geospatial information needed by the service and downstream industries can be extracted by the payload data ground segment service interfaces within the EO space component. Of course the book can be only an initial reading. Engineers who need to delve deeper into the matter will have to dive in the original literature published by the Open Geospatial Consortium and related standards organizations such as those from the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO). 

Scientific exploitation of EO data: moving to the Sentinel era


The scientific exploitation of the EO data was one of RSS main goals, and the support to scientists RSS utmost priority. The attached paper outlines the model for research and service support to the PIs in their scientific work in particular when algorithm development, testing and validation over large amount of EO data is of concern. Immediately after this paper an entire special issue of Remote Sensing of Environment was published and is freely available for download. This issue of RSE specifically addresses the new opportunities and challenges offered by the ecientific exploitation of the Sentinels. The need for the Sentinel data became dramaticaly urgent after the recent loss of ENVISAT. An independent view on the world wide need for EO data was recently provided by The Economist

IEEE GRSS Newsletter cover page

Broadcasting Africa

The Broadcasting Africa service allows service providers and instiututions alike to distribute EO data and EO project files to receiving stations in Africa hosted by following institutions:

Broadcasting Africa brochure

CSE - Centre de Suivi Ecologique 

Agrhymet Regional Centre 

RCMRD - Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development

Cape Town University

SADC-BMS Southern African Development Community

CSIR - Council for Scientific and Industrial Research 

UNZA IWRM CENTRE, School of Mines, University of Zambia

Lake Tchad Basin Commission - Univerisity of Maiduguri 

KNUST University

ECRI - Environment and Climate Research Institute 

NRI - Nile Research Institute

Institut Supérieur de Techniques Appliquées - ISTA

ENI-ABT Ecole Nationale d'Ingénieurs Abderhamane Baba Touré 

CSIR-WRI Council for Scientific & Industrial Research - Water Research Institute 

University of Zimbabwe

Centre for Training and Integrated Research in ASAL Development (CETRAD)

Lake Tchad Basin Commission HQ

Ministry of Water of Namibia

Volta Basin Authority

NBI-WRPM Nile basin Initiative

Chouaib Doukkali University


The Broadcasting Africa brochure is available here


Ordering Services Framework for Earth Observation Products

The Ordering Services Framework for Earth Observation Products Interface Standard has been published by the Open Geospatial Consortium. The published document summarises several man years of work and a waealth of know how about Earth observation missions and EO product ordering. The document has been written by Daniele Marchionni of Telespazio with the support of experts from the space industries and space agencies. The document is based upon initial work done at ESA which has been complemented and reviewed by experts who have provided input on order options, processing parameters and processes implemented at EUMETSAT, Conterra, DLR, CNES, Spot Image, the Canadian Space agency and MDA.

Another step towards better interconnected ground segments

 The recent announcement of a contract awarded to study the definition and feasibility of Europe's Multinational Space-based Imaging System - MUSIS marks an additional step towards interoperability of ground segments. The completion of the HMA-FO tasks with several standardisation documents approved at the Open Geospatial Consortium offers the opportunity for using an up-to date and industry accepted set of geospatial standards. The new standards, sponsored by HMA-FO, cover EO product metadata , fesibility analysis and sensor planning, online data access (web coverage service) and EO product ordering. Their forthcoming implementation, together with already available implementation of catalogue, order, and EO product metadata within the ESA multimission ground segment and within the GMES Contributing missions, offer an excellent  opportunity for system of systems interoperability for institutions and services. 

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