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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.