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e-GEOS, a Copernicus operational hub for geospatial services

The Earth Observation market and the Geospatial information services are continuously growing and changing following the evolution of satellite missions, the new very high resolution image acquisition technologies both Radar and Optical and the proliferation of geospatial information sources.

Satellite data availability is changing thanks also to the Copernicus open-data approach. Following the EU indication related to the data policy, indeed, in the next future the access to the images will be part of the data mining problem more than a cost per se.

e-GEOS is a European hub for geospatial data and application, developed specific and proprietary satellite data management tools that support the customer operators during the satellite data collection, image preparation, data-fusion, interpretation and results dissemination.

The e-GEOS Matera Space Centre represents today one of the space hub for Copernicus/Sentinel and Landsat8 data together with the COSMO-SkyMed commercial radar Images.

e-GEOS in Europe is going to became a point of excellence for operational activities based on the new quantity of data today available and on the customer request to obtain near real time results, derived also from the integration with the IoT technologies.

Besides the continuation of the operational provision of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service – Rapid Mapping, during the 2016 e-GEOS awarded two important Copernicus operative contracts that represents the state of the art of geospatial data exploitation:

Copernicus Global Land Hot Spot Mapping

In April 2016 the consortiumi headed by e-GEOS was awarded an operational contract from JRC for the provision of on demand high resolution land cover products over several Protected Areas mainly in Africa. The scope of the activity is to provide actors involved in biodiversity conservation actions (e.g. DG DEVCO) with reliable mapping products describing how land cover has been changing in the past 20 years, since land cover transitions from natural to semi-natural or artificial classes may have relevant effects on ecosystems fragility, animal and plant species and, more in general, on biodiversity conservation.

LCCS product sample

Land cover mapping products are based on the well-known Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) approach and they heavily rely on the automated classification of Dense Multitemporal Time Series (D-MTS) of both optical and SAR data to deal with prominent seasonality effects of certain land cover classes in tropical and sub-tropical areas. In view of efficiency improvements, e-GEOS has developed and operates a fully owned and automated processing chain that deals with the collection of relevant satellite EO data  (mostly Sentinel and Landsat series), the pre-processing (including rigorous atmospheric correction), the selection of suitable multi-yearly and multi-seasonal scenes based on pre-defined quality parameters (e.g. cloud coverage) and, finally, the application of automatic classification methods to generate the land cover products. This processing chain is designed to easy scale up and now ready to serve and support also other mapping initiatives in the era of big satellite EO data.

Copernicus Emergency management Service

In 2016 e-GEOS has successfully continued the operational provision of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service – Rapid Mapping. Until now 20 Rapid Mapping activations have been serviced, covering among others the widely known flood events in UK and Ireland (January) and in France (May/June).

Evolution of Copernicus services H2020

In the perspective of future service evolution, e-GEOS has coordinated the preparation of an H2020 proposal (E2mC) concerning the operational use and exploitation of crowdsourced and social media data within the framework of the Copernicus Emergency management Service overall (Mapping and Early Warning) with a potential extension also to other emergency mapping initiatives or other Copernicus services.  e-GEOS, as E2mC proposal coordinator, has now been invited by the Research Executive Agency (REA) to the grant agreement preparation.

The purpose of the new Copernicus Witness Service Component is to improve the timeliness and accuracy of geo-spatial information provided to Civil Protection authorities, on a 24/7 basis, during the overall crisis management cycle and, particularly, in the first hours immediately after the event. This will result in an early confirmation of alerts from running Early Warning Systems as well as first rapid impact assessment from the field.

Heterogeneous social media data streams (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,… and different data: text, image, video, …) will be analysed and sparse crowdsourcing communities will be federated (crisis specific as Tomnod, HOT, SBTF and generic as Crowdcrafting, EpiCollect,…).

Copernicus in situ component

In May 2016 the consortiumii headed by e-GEOS has been awarded a contract by the EEA to provide support to Copernicus Services in terms of in situ data access, limited to the INSPIRE spatial data themes. Therefore e-GEOS is leading a multi-faceted team to understand which are the current requirements of Copernicus Services in terms of in situ data, which are the in situ data they currently exploit and which are the gaps, obstacles and barriers which prevent am better and more satisfactory exploitation of such data within the full operation service workflow. The activities also aims at identifying in situ related best practices and data that could be shared among different Copernicus Services to improve the overall result.

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