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The landscape for accessing and using EO data is changing. ICT evolution is enabling easier access to satellite data and less onerous methodologies for working with the data and integrating satellite derived information with other datasets.  In parallel, the number of small satellites providing EO data is increasing exponentially.  ESA is working with data provides in two main areas:

  • Access to data as part of the development of innovative platform services
  • Accelerating and expanding the uptake of data from small innovative satellite platforms


The first area of activity in intend to support easier and more efficient use of EO data by making them available in data infrastructures where processing power is available to the customer directly where the data sits, and via innovative platform services that bring advanced data analytics capabilities to the users.

The ESA “Exploitation Platform” programmatic line is there to help promote data provider investments into this direction to a large audience of scientists and value adders. Services integrated into the “Network of Platforms” will be sponsored by ESA to make them available free at point of use to the research community and for pre-commercial development of value-added services. Free services can be promoted at any moment, services that need sponsoring from ESA will be selected on a yearly basis to implement a contractual agreement via a dedicated “Network of Resources” frame contract. The first opportunity will be available in late Q3 2018.
ESA will also support you in experimenting this new platform approach allowing wide use of data holdings, by linking with the most suitable infrastructure providers and making an open source software suite available to operate this new type of data access service.
Proposals to the “Network of Resources” open call domain are welcome.

The second area of activity is based on setting up and running operational use case exercises to verify the added value from integrating data from specific small satellites with existing information streams using traditional EO systems. In addition, these exercises support the small satellite operators to verify the levels of performance they can achieve in operational situations with respect to acquisition reliability, latency, data quality etc. This can provide a stronger basis to support commercial procurement of these datasets within operational frameworks such as Copernicus. An invitation to tender will be released once per year starting in 2019 to support small satellite operators to accelerate commercial data uptake.