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From low-level EO data to specialised EO software and products

A profile of the activities of Brockmann Consult, Germany

Founded in 1999, Brockmann Consult (BC) is a private company offering scientific consultancy and environmental informatics services. The company is actively involved in the development of software for Earth Observation data management and its processing. BC is lead by Dr. Carsten Brockmann, a physical oceanographer, who is working for more than 20 years in optical remote sensing and software development. The company at present employs 20 scientists and engineers of various nationalities and whose expertise range from software engineering, including database design, physics and mathematics, biological and environmental sciences.

The activities of BC encompass the entire spectrum of Earth Observation data products and procedures extending from the reception of data, to archiving and to the processing and distribution of value added EO data products. To this end BC has developed customer-specific archiving systems, software systems as well as automated processing chains. The products and services are provided to the customer in a standardised and individualised manner.

Beginning with the low-level data, MERCI has been developed to manage and process MERIS data regardless of the data volume and regardless of the storage media. The specific strength of MERCI is the support of online storage, either partly or for the complete archive to be managed. MERCI provides all functions for data acquisition, product registration quality control, product query, child product generation and dissemination. The web interface of MERCI makes your data accessible from any place in the world.

Of course most customers require a certain added value or processing of EO data and in this regard, one of the most successful activities of Brockmann Consult is the development of BEAM, an Earth Observation data processing and analysis software on behalf of ESA. BEAM is a collection of tools for visualisation, interpretation, conversion and processing of optical and radar EO data. The success of this open source BEAM software is based on the deep involvement of the company itself in the development, verification and validation of the operational MERIS processor.

Several other important applications have emerged which are being facilitated by the BEAM programming interface. A good example of such an application is the development of data processors in BEAM for the generation of synergistic products from MERIS and AATSR data, including aerosol retrieval, cloud cover and atmospheric correction over land. Other examples include the development of data processors for estimating sun glint and oxygen parameters using MERIS and AATSR data. The Globcover and AlbedoMap processor performs land Atmospheric Correction and provides land surface parameters. Data processing systems (e.g. MAPP, Case2Regional, Albedomap, Globcover preprocessing system, Globcolour tools etc.) have all been developed specifically for earth observation data, and includes also algorithm development, implementation and validation. A sound scientific knowledge is also required to assure the accuracy and reliability of such processors and this is also being provided by BC.

BEAM VISAT User Interface for analysing Earth Observation data

The second major cornerstone of BC are the Geoinformation Services which provide value-added products and thematic information derived from Earth Observation data, including also scientific consultancy for environmental matters. Services are provided for operational marine and environmental monitoring serving both the public and private sectors. The products and services provided are and will be applicable to coastal monitoring, weather and ocean state forecasting, shipping (including ballast water), wind-park planning and fish farming. Present activities are driven largely, but not solely, by the requirements of various EU Directives including, for example, the European Maritime Strategy, Bonn Agreement, Water Framework Directive and Natura 2000. BC is also engaged with individual questions and problems arising from the scientific community. Products offered by BC range from mosaics of satellite images to qualitative and quantitative information concerning our environment which have been derived from different data sources. BC also has a very close cooperation with environmental monitoring agencies and research institutes. With the goal of connecting the requirements and expertise of EO data users and EO data experts, BC has established the Working Group on Coastal Remote Sensing in Germany

One of the main service systems developed by BC is the so-called Water Quality Service System (WAQSS), which was partly funded by the GMES MarCoast project. WAQSS is presently providing satellite-derived information for coastal waters and intertidal flats to customers around the North and Baltic Seas. Data management systems for environmental data have been developed by BC including systems for the LOICZ project office, regional environmental agencies and National Park authorities in Germany as well as management systems for nuclear power reactors.

The following provides an overview of some key projects which have been undertaken in the last while by Brockmann Consult.


Earth Observation Product visualisation, conversion, analysis and processing package, developed on behalf of ESA. Including extensions such as, for example, the AlbedoMap processor, the Chris/Proba Toolbox and the Case2Regional Processor as well as the Globcolour tools. (see also: )


Catalogue and Inventory software system for managing EO data. MERCI has been developed to manage and process MERIS data regardless of the data volume and regardless of the storage media. The specific strength of MERCI is the support of online storage, either partly or for the complete archive to be managed. MERCI provides all functions for data acquisition, product registration quality control, product query, child product generation and dissemination. The web interface of MERCI makes your data accessible from any place in the world.


Brockmann Consult acts as Service Provider and is leading the Validation Bureau of the GMES project MarCoast (Marine & Coastal Environmental Information Services) delivers satellite-based services in the field of marine and coastal applications. Services integrate detection and monitoring technologies involved in water quality, oil spill and meteorological information into a durable network. (see also: and )


Within the OFEW project a standardized classification method for remote sensing data of intertidal flats has been developed. Different surface types such as sediment types, macrophytes and mussel beds can be spectrally differentiated and therefore be classified from optical remote sensing data. First steps have been made to integrate this application into the operational monitoring programmes. The project has been co-funded by the ministries for the Environment of Schleswig Holstein and Lower Saxony. (see also: /)


Is the Germany national contribution to marine GMES services. BC is leading the subproject on monitoring of intertidal flats and contributing to the development and service delivery of ocean colour products for the coastal zone. Further, BC is supporting the project coordination, e.g. by implementing and maintaining the DeMarine Web portal.


The objective of the GLOBCOVER / ESA initiative was to develop a service for a global land-cover map for the year 2005-2006, using the fine resolution (300 m) mode data acquired over the full year 2005 by the MERIS sensor on-board the ENVISAT satellite. A regionally-tuned classification and the calibration/validation of the classification by a team of regional experts in land cover characteristics assures the generation of an accurate global land cover map. Our role was to develop the prototype of the pre-processing chain as well as performing the pre-processing to the whole data set. (see also: )


The GlobColour project is demonstrating an EO based service supporting global ocean carbon cycle research and operational oceanography. It has been initiated and funded by the ESA Data User Element. In order to cover the long time span necessary for climate monitoring purposes, the required ocean colour data set can only be built by merging together observations made with different satellite systems. Brockmann Consult has been responsible for the a Software development plan, architecture and detailed design of the processor, coordination of software verification activities as well as for the website design and development. (see also: )

CEOS Cal/Val-Portal

The CEOS/GEO Cal/Val Portal is an initiative by the European Space Agency (ESA) to support the Committee on Earth Observation Systems (CEOS) and the Group on Earth Observation (GEO). ESA has awarded the contract to develop and maintain the portal to Brockmann Consult. The overall objective of the portal is the provision of satellite and correlative data over selected and agreed international sites, used for calibration and validation. This is accompanied by relevant methodological and instrument documentation. The portal comprises infrared and visible optical sensors (IVOS) as well as SAR, microwave and other GEO relevant instruments. The latter group of sensors will be expanded significantly in the near future, e.g. through the ESA SMOS mission. (see also: )


Synergy products processor for cloud identification and aerosol retrieval over land

MERIS and AATSR Quality Working Groups

Since 1995 BC is member of the ESL team defining and developing the MERIS prototype processor and since 2002 member of the MERIS Data Quality Working Group. Carsten Brockmann is consultant to the AATSR QWG since 2006.

GSE Respond

Respond (ESA GSE Project) is an alliance of European and International organisations working with the humanitarian community to improve access to maps, satellite imagery and geographic information. Brockmann Consult is member of the consortium and consultant on medium resolution satellite images. (see also: )

Lakes Processor Development

The goal of the project is to develop a software processor as a plug-in module for the BEAM toolbox that can be used by the user community with MERIS data to estimate water quality parameters in inland waters


Development and implementation of advanced MERIS water quality and atmosperic correction processing.


BEAM processor and adjacency effect correction.

Albedo Map

This projects aims at producing global monthly maps of spectral and broadband albedo from MERIS data at a spatial resolution of 0.05 degrees and 1km. (see also: )

The Brockmann Consult Team

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