Copernicus is the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, looking at our planet and its environment for the ultimate benefit of all European citizens.
Copernicus is the European programme for monitoring the Earth. It consists of a set of systems that collect data from satellites and in-situ sensors, process this data and provide users with reliable and up-to-date information on a range of environmental and security issues.
The Earth observation satellites that provide the data of Copernicus are the Sentinels, which are developed for the specific needs of the Copernicus programme, and the contributing missions, which are operated by national, European or international organizations. The access to Sentinel data is regulated by EU law and it is full, open and free. Information extracted from Copernicus data is made available to users through the Copernicus services addressing six thematic areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate, emergency and security.
To facilitate and standardise access to data, the European Commission has funded the deployment of five cloud-based platforms providing centralised access to Copernicus data and information, as well as to processing tools.
Five Copernicus Data and Information Access Services will be implemented in the context of Copernicus.
The European Commission has awarded in December 2017 four contracts to industrial consortia for the development of four cloud-based platforms for Copernicus DIAS. These are ONDA, SOBLOO, CREODIAS and MUNDI. These platforms will bring computing resources close to the data and enable an even greater commercial exploitation of Copernicus data. A fifth DIAS platform is developed by the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the French company Mercator Ocean. Like the TEPs, these five platforms will also bring computing resources close to the data and enable an even greater commercial exploitation of Copernicus data.
The five DIAS online platforms allow users to discover, manipulate, process and download Copernicus data and information. All DIAS platforms provide access to Copernicus Sentinel data, as well as to the information products from Copernicus’ six operational services, together with cloud-based tools (open source and/or on a pay-per-use basis). Each of the five competitive platforms also provides access to additional commercial satellite or non-space data sets as well as premium offers in terms of support or priority. Thanks to a single access point for the entire Copernicus data and information, DIAS allows the users to develop and host new applications in the cloud, while removing the need to download bulky files from several access points and process them locally.
Although the TEPs and DIAS activities funded by ESA have been welcomed by the EO data user community, they both have a significant disadvantage: they target users that are experts in EO data and technologies, and ignore the myriad of software developers that might not be experts in EO but still have a lot to gain by integrating EO data in their applications. Therefore, opening up the TEPs and DIASs by extracting information and knowledge hidden in the data, publishing this information and knowledge using linked data technologies, and interlinking it with data in other TEPs and DIASs and other non-EO data, information and knowledge can be an important way of making the development of downstream applications easy for both EO and non-EO experts.
With respect to the organization of the future Copernicus data access architecture through DIAS, the tools developed by ExtremeEarth belong to the intermediate layers, since they allow the exploitation of the back office resources for the benefit of the various front offices, but also provide the necessary modules to foster EO data analytics and the chaining of value adding activities between different front offices. When the five DIAS will become operational, the ExtremeEarth technologies will also be demonstrated in a selected DIAS.