NLR developed infrastructure for the European Space Agency (ESA) that allows users to more easily and efficiently find, order and download Earth observation images from ESA satellites. The initial tests of this (prototype) infrastructure were recently successfully completed.

easie access to satellite dataGiven the ever-increasing streams of satellite data, it has become increasingly important to provide users with easier access to all of this data. The ESA project, ‘Decision Support and Real Time EO Data Management’ (DREAM), contributes to this endeavour.
The aim is to develop interfaces for planning, ordering, and accessing data from the ESA Earth observation missions. The representative users for this data are EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) and EUSC (European Union Satellite Centre), which will use the data to monitor oil spills at sea and support anti-pirate patrols, for example.

Regional Reference Server
Making the accessibility of satellite data efficient plays an important role in the automation of processes. For this, standards are needed to establish how the data can be searched for, and how the data can be ordered, downloaded and formatted. NLR works on this within the Regional Reference Server (RRS), which focuses on supporting commercial service providers when ordering and procuring Earth observation data. To this end, NLR collaborates with BMT ARGOSS and HERMESS, which are value-adding companies situated in the Geomatica Business Park.

NLR has developed an interface for the Regional Reference Server, which can more easily supports users, by hiding all the complex standards. HERMESS, for example, uses radar and optical satellite images to monitor the ice conditions in the Caspian Sea. Following a simple search for satellite data, HERMESS can immediately place an order. When, after a certain amount of time, the data automatically becomes available in the RRS, it is included in HERMESS’ processing chain without the need for further intervention.

In short, NLR’s contribution to the major DREAM project has resulted in a prototype infrastructure that allows users to more easily and efficiently find order and download Earth observation images from satellites. This infrastructure, and the acquired experience, assists NLR in developing future infrastructures focusing on Earth observation-based products and services. Commercial service-providing companies are thereby supported in automatically processing the huge amounts of satellite data provided by ESA’s Sentinel mission and the missions of other parties.