Handling Big EO Data No Small Feat

by | Jun 18, 2013

Future EO satellites, like the Sentinels being launched under ESA's Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program, will deliver huge amounts of data that will need to be acquired, processed and delivered.

Policy makers and science and industry representatives are discussing how to make large amounts of Earth observation (EO) data accessible to a wider user community.

Data from EO satellites and other remote sensing technologies are growing in volume and diversity at an exceptionally fast rate. This poses challenges and opportunities for their quick access, stewardship and applications.

Diversity of space data, the combined use of data from different space missions and the fusion of satellite data with nonspace data lead to new types of user applications. This affects the way such data are collected, processed, delivered and preserved. These new combinations of data, coupled with today's latest technologies, open new opportunities for their handling and exploitation as well as for collaboration among scientists.

Not all applications require expert understanding of EO data. There's an increasing need to serve a wider user community looking to retrieve simple, understandable and immediate information from remotely sensed data that have undergone complex processes and analyses.

To explore this idea, some 250 science, industry and policy-making representatives and national delegates from Europe, the United States, Australia, China and Africa met at the European Space Agency (ESA) ESRIN center in Frascati, Italy, during the first week of June for ESA's first Big Data from Space event. More than 50 presentations during the three-day conference stimulated discussion among the different communities involved in the business of providing and manipulating large-scale data and complex analyses of satellite and in-situ Earth observations.

Image courtesy of ESA/P. Carril.

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