The 2016 CEOS Chair Initiatives

Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), has launched two CEOS Ad Hoc Teams to implement two new studies as  part of its Chairmanship of CEOS in 2016.

1. Future Data Access & Analysis Architectures Study

New generation Earth observation (EO) satellites are generating huge volumes of data. At the same time, new applications for long time series Earth observation data are being developed, offering significant potential to deliver great impact on important environmental, economic, and social challenges at regional and global scales.

To make the most of the enormous potential of these datasets and applications, we need to bridge the growing gap between them, especially in developing countries. We’ll then be better-placed to tackle issues such as long-term climate monitoring, land-use change, and water resource mapping, food security, and the monitoring of key indicators for sustainable development across the world.

Attempts by individual users have so far not resulted in an optimal solution; missing the opportunities offered through collaborative environments where both data providers and users can work together across domains and geographic boundaries.

We believe that data management and analysis challenges arising from the explosion in free and open data volumes can be overcome by new, high-performance Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and architectures aimed at improving data management for providers and removing obstacles to uptake by users. Through this new “Future Data Access & Analysis Architectures Study”, an Ad Hoc Team lead by CSIRO and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) with support from 11 other CEOS Agencies, will report on the current status of data supply, access, processing, and delivery and provide guidance on the potential that new high-performance or cloud-computing technologies can provide for CEOS, its Agencies, and all users of EO data.

The Australian Geoscience Data Cube is one attempt 
to implement the principles behind ‘Analysis Ready
 Data’. The Data Cube organises data into stacks of consistent, time-stamped geographic ‘tiles’, so that they can be rapidly manipulated in a high performance computing (HPC) environment.

2. Non-meteorological Applications for Next Generation Geostationary Satellites Study

The deployment over the next few years of a constellation of advanced meteorological geostationary (GEO) satellites with improved spectral, spatial, and temporal resolution sensors opens up a world of new possibilities for continuous monitoring of the high-temporal dynamics of the land, oceans, and atmosphere. Data from GEO satellites can be applied to a broad range of societal challenges, particularly in combination with moderate resolution Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observing satellites.

The primary mission of these new GEO satellites is to support operational meteorological services, but they also offer opportunities for non-meteorological applications that can enhance and complement the LEO-based applications that have been the workhorse for monitoring the broader Earth system.

The development of a set of additional non-meteorological applications from these advanced missions is a new area of EO application development that shows much promise.

This new “Non-meteorological Applications for Next Generation Geostationary Satellites Study” will undertake a systematic survey of potential applications, benefits, and capacity. The CEOS Ad Hoc Team implementing this study is co-led by CSIRO, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, with support from 13 additional CEOS Agencies. A report will be produced that provides comprehensive and pragmatic guidance to CEOS on the new opportunities arising from next generation geostationary satellites and GEO-LEO synergies.