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Generic Platform Capabilities overview

Generic Platform Capabilities comprise all services that can support researchers and value adders to focus on their core tasks for the exploitation of EO and non-EO data, outsourcing auxiliary activities to professional service providers. These services are provided by industrial actors, building on each other with the goal to form a dynamic and continuously evolving Platform Ecosystem, increasingly improving “time and cost to market” for research, information and knowledge generation related initiatives.

In addition to technical capabilities services encompass also specific expertise needed to best use the capabilities, e.g. services supporting with algorithm optimization on the cloud or services supporting to build a commercial business offering around web service based information generation resources.

While the Generic Platform Ecosystems fostered by ESA largely promotes industrial and national investments, ESA is also investing in some specific innovative capabilities, e.g.:


NRT Exploitation Platform

The platform service shall support value adders in exploring Near Real Time (NRT) business cases by providing them combined access to NRT data and processing resources in a cloud environment where they can host their algorithm(s) and applications to exploit NRT business opportunities such as:

  • providing operational ‘Information as a Service’ for algorithm owners as a building block for value adding application chains
  • Hosting a self-standing application for a value adder providing him with an optimized and combined Data-as-a-Service/Infrastructure-as-a-Service/Platform-as-a-service (DaaS/IaaS/PaaS) environment
  • NRT data visualization within minutes from acquisition.


Open Earth Engine

The Service is a set versatile and powerful analytical capabilities that satisfy the processing & analytic requirements of a wide range of EO users, including scientific EO experts, commercial value-adders and public sector operational data users. ESA aims to establish a European cloud analytical capability as a versatile and scalable tool for users to exploit large EO data repositories simultaneously with other data sources enabling and advancing a range of application scenarios.

The main focus of the engine is the EO analytical capability that provide a computational framework for facilitating the extraction of higher level information from EO data using specialized processing protocols, scientific algorithms and data analytical tools for exploration, statistics, time-series, modelling, inference, data assimilation and others.


Earth observation Video product exploitation Platform

VHR monitoring with video capability, at multiple times, will create new opportunities in a geo-located world and benefit customers in a variety of industries especially ones in high value, high importance and high-risk environments. EO based video delivers a new quality of temporal information that captures instantaneous motion on and above the Earth’s surface. This allows determining direction, speed and rate of change of moving targets on or above the ground and bring new perspectives for advanced analytic capabilities. The platform will implement a collaborative environment for sharing video sensor data, tools and algorithms and the expertise to exploit them.


Data Cube

Data Cube is an innovative way for  researchers and value-adders to access EO resources and exploit them. It’s features and functionalities allow users to exploit at the best the multitude and diversity of data available today. This means that Data Cube is part of the process of changing data paradigm from “EO Data Repository” to “EO Information Factory”, where data, algorithms and processing infrastructure are all combined into a single resource. The focus is not data download but on dynamic generation of derived information as part of “EO Information Factory chain”, i.e. via plugging in the relevant algorithms directly into the data cube environment.

Data cubes can support the scientific community to adopt a more holistic approach to understanding several environmental related aspects (such as land-marine-atmosphere interactions and the role of humans) and to provide the capability to evaluate and exploit data across pace missions and to merge space data with non-space information.

Data Cube technologies combined with open source software and interoperability standards are expected to attract new users from outside the space domain that extend beyond the remote sensing typical use for:

  • Rapid monitoring of land and water changes (e.g. natural phenomena, effect of human activity,..)
  • Integration of multiple data set (climate, in situ, demographic, economic)
  • Integration of multiple sensor types (optical, radar)
  • Fusion of data sets (combining Landsat with Sentinel-2)
  • Use of high performances computing for complex analysis and deep learning technologies

The activity promotes regional and national instances of data cubes to contribute to an interoperable data cube federation where data owners can share and manage their data autonomously in accordance with their needs and constraints.


GEO microservices e-commerce platform

Earth Observation (EO) sector is still characterized by a number of small and specialized companies operating independently in specific application domains where they extract information potentially useful to a large audience from EO data. While they excel in their core competences in extracting valuable information from EO data, they lack IT competences and resources to publish and market their information extraction algorithms via modern on-line platforms. On-line micro-geoservices shall cover information provisioning services based on EO data, addressed to a wide audience which is interested on smaller areas and available to pay only a small amount (typically order of 10 Euro). Given the rather limited revenue margin, it is essential that scalable data storage & processing environments (e.g. on the cloud), but in particular the marketplace platform capabilities can be shared across value adding providers.

The envisaged procurement is aimed at simplifying and automating overall ICT deployment and exploitation of micro-geoservices from the Earth Observation sector. Through an online e-commerce platform enabling publishing, ordering, delivery and billing, the elapsed time between service demand and service output shall be shorten, avoiding repetitive ICT tasks non related to EO service provider core competencies, with an overall efficiency improvement and cost reduction. The customer will be able to access in a fast, transparent and seamless way to different types of services, according to needs. Service providers will benefits from enhanced visibility, advanced delivery mechanisms (on-demand, subscription, real-time)  and rely on seamless payment, accounting mechanism and IPR protection.