Transforming the use of Earth Observation data from downloading locally to contributing to data ecosystem hosted environments is crucial to creating an environment for valuable data exploitation, according to Telespazio VEGA UK’s Tom Greig.
The availability of free and open data, such as from the Copernicus Sentinel fleet, together with the availability of affordable and powerful cloud computing resources, creates an opportunity for the wide adoption and use of Earth Observation (EO) data across many areas of society.
The European Space Agency’s (ESA) ‘Exploitation Platform’ initiative aims to facilitate this adoption by enabling the paradigm shift from “bringing the data to the user” (i.e. user downloads data locally) to “bringing the user to the data” (i.e. move user exploitation to hosted environments with collocated computing and storage). This approach leads to a platform-based ecosystem that provides infrastructure, data, computing power and software as a service. The resulting Exploitation Platform is where scientific and value adding activities are conducted, to generate targeted outputs for end-users.
The goal of the ESA EO Exploitation Platform ‘Common Architecture’ is to define and agree the technical interfaces for the future exploitation of EO data in a distributed environment. The ‘Common Architecture’ will therefore provide the interfaces to facilitate the federation of different EO resources into a ‘Network of EO Resources’. The ‘Common Architecture’ will be defined using open interfaces that link the different resources (building blocks), enabling users to efficiently access and consume the disparate services of the ‘Network of EO Resources’.
The ‘Common Architecture’ is highly relevant to the planned Atlantic regional exploitation platform(s). Implementation of the Reference Architecture in such a platform will enable integration into an evolving powerful interoperable ecosystem such as the Thematic Exploitation Platforms or the Copernicus DIASs. It would therefore facilitate new developments for regionally-focussed platforms to build on top of existing capabilities, avoiding duplication of effort and concentrating only on the additional regional needs.
Telespazio VEGA UK (a Leonardo and Thales company) will lead the definition of the ‘Common Architecture’ through an open process of public discussion and consensus building with the EO community. It will be promoted as a Reference Architecture that will be designed to meet a broad set of use cases that cover Federated Identity Management, Processing and Chaining, and Data Access and Management. Leveraging free and open source software, a reusable Reference Implementation will be developed and deployed operationally, to act as a validation of the architecture and to provide an existing solution to third-parties.