CEOS Development Environment

GFOI Space Data Blog

Published by the LSI-VC Forests & Biomass Subgroup

This page has been established by CEOS to help inform the GFOI community and the practitioners supporting the various national forest monitoring systems as to the availability of data, products, and tools for their work. As we become aware of developments of relevance, the news will be posted here for reference of the GFOI community, and propagated through the GFOI Capacity Building component and its various workshops.

We hope that the news items below are of value to GFOI countries. Click the links to visit the agency resources and for further information.

11 Mar 2020 GFOI Country Coverage Report Toolcove

In support of the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) and the LSI-VC Forests & Biomass Subgroup, the CEOS Systems Engineering Office (SEO) provides a service through its COVE Visualization Environment that produces historical satellite coverage analyses utilizing the data archives for the Landsat, Sentinel-1, and Sentinel-2 missions.

Users can access an overview of the GFOI Country Coverage Reports by selecting ‘Country Coverage’ from the Tools menu in COVE. In the Task Options panel, users may select one or more constellations (Landsat, Sentinel-1, and Sentinel-2) and countries of interest (from over 70 GFOI countries). COVE imports new acquisition data daily, therefore the reports are cached for one day only. It should be noted that processing times for countries with large surface areas can take on the order of hours. Should you run into any issues, the CEOS SEO will happily generate reports on request – please email Brian Killough.

The generated PDF files contain summary figures and tables of all Landsat/Sentinel scenes available over a given country including a subset of information for low cloud (<20%) data, where applicable. The XLS files contain the relevant raw metadata for every scene listed in the report.

Please feel free to email Dave Borges (head of the CEOS SEO) with any questions or comments.


CEOS Visualization Environment (COVE)

COVE User’s Guide (see page 34 for information on the GFOI Country Coverage Reports)

3 Feb 2020 Understanding Biomass: The Importance of Satellite-derived Products and Global Collaboration

Sources/Credits: Earth Observation Australia

At the last Earth Observation Australia webinar (15 January 2020), hosted by CSIRO’s Dr Cindy Ong and featuring distinguished presenters from NASA, the European Space Agency and CEOS, we were updated on the importance of satellite-derived products and global collaboration in understanding biomass.



Earth Observation Australia

30 Jan 2020 Monitoring Forest Carbon From Space: A New Model For Measuring Tropical Forest Carbon Stocks & Emissions

Sources/Credits: Planet

Planet presents a case study on how new advances in remote sensing and machine learning technologies could play an important role in informing decision makers, creating fresh financial incentives and setting a new precedent for how we manage tropical deforestation.


Original Story

29 Jan 2020 First GEDI Data Sets Available Now

Sources/Credits: NASA, USGS, LP DAAC; Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Lauren Dauphin.


The first data sets of the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) mission were released on January 21, 2020: Level 1B Geolocated Waveform Data, Level 2A Elevation and Height Metrics Data, and Level 2B Canopy Cover and Vertical Profile Metrics Data.

Attached to the International Space Station (ISS), the GEDI instrument produces data at the highest resolution and densest sampling of any light detection and ranging (lidar) instrument in orbit to date. GEDI measurements include forest canopy height, canopy vertical structure, and surface elevation to better understand important carbon and water cycling processes, biodiversity, and habitat.

GEDI data products are now online and available via LP DAAC or Earth Data Search. Additional information can be found on the GEDI website.


GEDI website

LP DAAC Press Release

23 Jan 2020 JAXA-FAO Agreement on Data Utilisation of Earth Observation Satellitesfao-sepal

Source/Credit: JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has agreed to collaborate with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on data utilisation of Earth observation satellites, and Imai Ryoichi, JAXA Vice President and Daniel Gustafson, FAO’s Deputy Director-General for Programmes signed a Memorandum of Understanding at JAXA Tsukuba Space Center on January 23, 2020.

Leveraging this cooperation, JAXA and FAO will be monitoring forests and mangroves around the world using JAXA’s satellites with L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).

Only JAXA has observed forests using L-band radar (SAR) technology since 1992. Observation data of global forests that JAXA has been accumulating for over 25 years will be provided to the System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing and Analysis for Land Monitoring (SEPAL) – FAO’s toolkit for monitoring forest and land-use. Additionally, this cooperation will help JAXA improve the accuracy of its satellite data.

SEPAL offers anyone easy-to-use access to satellite data and supercomputing power, allowing them to create critical forest and land cover information in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It is now used in 160 countries.

Thanks to this cooperation, available data on SEPAL will be expanded, and users will be able to access JAXA’s forest observation information and satellite data. Since satellite radar has the capability to provide information on forest and mangroves in areas where optical satellites are impeded by weather (rain and clouds) or lack of sunlight, much improved capability is expected.

JAXA will continue its forest observations using its satellites in cooperation with various users around the world, and will provide satellite data widely as scientific evidence to support decision-making on forest management. With these efforts, JAXA hopes to contribute to the achievement of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Press Release

27 Dec 2019

2018 PALSAR-2 Global Mosaic Released

Source/Credit: JAXA

The global 25m resolution PALSAR/PALSAR-2 mosaics are a seamless global SAR image created by mosaicking the images of SAR backscatter coefficients measured by PALSAR/PALSAR-2, where all the strip data within 10×10 degrees in latitude and longitude are path-processed and mosaicked for the sake of processing efficiency. The size of one pixel is approximately 25×25 metres.

The global forest/non-forest map (FNF) is generated by classifying the backscattering intensity values in the global 25m resolution PALSAR/PALSAR-2 mosaic so that strong and low backscatter in HV-polarisation are classified “forest” (coloured in green) and “non-forest” (coloured in yellow), respectively.


The 2018 Global 25m PALSAR-2 Mosaics have now been released. The mosaics have been processed with an updated software version to provide improved geolocation and radiometric terrain correction. Reprocessing of all historical global mosaics will follow in 2020.

The mosaics are available for public download at:

06 Dec 2019

New Biomass Map to Take Stock of the World’s Carbon

Source/Credit: ESA

ESA’s Climate Change Initiative has released the first of a series of global maps aimed at quantifying change in carbon stored as biomass across the world’s forests and shrublands.


The new map uses optical, lidar and radar data acquired in 2017 and 2018 from multiple Earth observation satellites and is the first to integrate multiple acquisitions from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission and Japan’s ALOS mission.

The next step for the research team is to develop a map covering the 2018-19 period and to quantify changes between years.

The map was released at the occasion of the COP25 meeting in December 2019 and is freely available from the Climate Change Initiative’s Open Data Portal.

Tracking biomass change is increasingly important as decision-makers work towards the Global Stocktake – an aspect of the global Paris climate deal – that will periodically check international progress towards meeting emissions reduction commitments to limit global warming.


Original Story

ESA Climate Change Initiative Programme

Climate Change Initiative’s Open Data Portal