Banner with this text: the on-demand service P-SBAS for Sentinel-1 is now available on P-SBAS for Sentinel-1 is now available on EarthConsole®

Investigating Earth surface displacement with the on-demand P-SBAS service for Sentinel-1

Our planet continually undergoes transformations, with natural and human-induced displacement shaping its surface. Comprehending these changes is paramount across various disciplines, from environmental science to disaster preparedness and response.

Fortunately, advancements in satellite technology have provided us with tools to detect and study the Earth’s surface dynamics.

In particular, the Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (DInSAR) technique permits to measure the deformation component along the radar line of sight (LOS) with a very large spatial coverage capability and with accuracy of a fraction of the wavelength relevant to the transmitted microwave signals. This result is achieved by exploiting the phase difference (interferogram) between pairs of complex SAR images, usually referred to as single look complex (SLC), which are acquired by the SAR sensor at different times.

Furthermore, over the last 30 years advanced DInSAR approaches, which allow the retrieval of the temporal evolution of the detected surface deformations by exploiting large multitemporal SAR data sets, have been developed. Among these, the Small BAseline Subset (SBAS) technique developed at IREA – CNR (Italian Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment), offers the possibility to compute displacement time series and the corresponding mean deformation velocity map with centimeter to sub-centimeter accuracy.

The SBAS approach has emerged as particularly effective to investigate ground displacements both in natural and anthropogenic hazard contexts, such as volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and human-induced deformation due to mining activities, fluids exploitation, and large infrastructures construction.

Moreover, in 2014, a parallel version of the SBAS algorithm, referred to as the P-SBAS approach, was developed. This implementation is able to properly exploit distributed computing infrastructures, such as grid and cloud computing (CC) environments.

In this context, the P-SBAS algorithm, specific for the Sentinel-1 data processing, has been released as an on-demand web-based tool by integrating it within the EarthConsole® platform.

The on-demand P-SBAS service for Sentinel-1 represents a collaboration between IREA-CNR and Progressive Systems’ EarthConsole® platform, bridging the gap between advanced satellite monitoring and end-users.

This service empowers users to investigate surface displacement autonomously.

Through the intuitive EarthConsole® interface, users can select the SAR data to be processed over their area of interest, set the input parameters for the processing, and download processing outputs once ready.

How to access the on-demand P-SBAS for Sentinel-1 service

Interested users can request the service by completing all parts of the P-PRO ON DEMAND form on the EarthConsole® webapp.

The information collected through the form serves as a basis to help you prepare a sponsorship request for the ESA Network of Resources. If approved, the sponsorship covers the cost of using the service for up to 500 processing hours over six months.

Want more information, or want to talk about your specific use case? Contact us.

Banner including an image of the Earth, with the details of the webinar taking place on the 22nd of May at 1 p.m. CEST.

Join the webinar on EarthConsole® organized by the ESA Network of Resources

The management of Earth Observation data, from their retrieval to processing setup and IT infrastructure management, can be complex.

These tasks may take you significant time and resources that you would most probably prefer to spend on your scientific work.

At EarthConsole®, we understand the challenges you face. That’s why we handle all this complexity so you can focus on what you enjoy the most: your research.

If you want to learn more on the support we provide, join us on the 22nd of May for a FREE webinar hosted by the ESA Network of Resources. You will discover how EarthConsole® can help you to:

  • Develop and prototype new algorithms on our virtual machines with rapid access to EO data.
  • Host your processor to scale up your processing capabilities globally and temporally, empowering you to handle large volumes of data efficiently.
  • Develop a dedicated graphical user interface for your processor to share it with the research community.
  • Run processing campaigns in your area and time of interest using ready-to-use processors provided by renowned research centers and universities. We’ll provide a live demo of the on-demand P-SBAS for Sentinel-1 web tool, developed in collaboration with IREA-CNR, which facilitates SAR data processing via a user-friendly interface, for investigating the Earth surface displacement.

At the end of the session, it will also be presented the process to request an ESA NoR sponsorship to cover the cost for the usage of the services.

Here the details:

Date: May 22nd
Time: from 1p.m. to 2p.m. CEST

We look forward to meeting you online!


EGU 2024: training course on the P-SBAS DInSAR web tool for Earth surface deformation

Earth surface deformation due to phenomena like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, land subsidence due to fluid extraction activities or large infrastructure construction, can be effectively investigated using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors.

Through the SAR Interferometry (InSAR) technique, two radar images of the Earth’s surface are captured from slightly different angles. By comparing these images, detailed three-dimensional maps of the ground can be created, providing valuable insights into its topography.

When these images are taken at different times, employing the Differential SAR Interferometry (DInSAR) technique, it becomes possible to measure changes in the Earth’s surface over time.

One particularly effective method for tracking these changes is the Parallel Small BAseline Subset (P-SBAS) algorithm, developed at IREA-CNR.

During the EGU General Assembly 2024, on April 18th, IREA – CNR will be conducting a training course, organized with our support, on the P-SBAS DInSAR on-demand service integrated on the EarthConsole® platform.

In this training, you will be guided by IREA – CNR team experts on the Interferometric analysis and on the use of this tool to process both Sentinel-1 and ENVISAT SAR images in a fully unsupervised manner, all through the EarthConsole® P-PRO ON DEMAND web interface without the need to download data to your own processing and archiving systems.

You will also be introduced to the ESA Network of Resources (NoR) initiative that may sponsor scientific users to access the P-SBAS DInSAR on EarthConsole® free of charge.

Find more information on the course either online or on this flyer.

The entry into operation of the P-SBAS DInSAR for Sentinel-1 on-demand service represents an important opportunity for researchers studying Earth surface deformation as it complements the already operational P-SBAS DInSAR for ENVISAT on-demand service available through the ESA Heritage Missions Virtual Lab hosted on EarthConsole®.

This will enable researchers to generate time series and get insights into the evolution of Earth surface deformation over the years.

 How to access these services on EarthConsole®:

  • Log in/Register on the EarthConsole® webapp.
  • For P-SBAS DInSAR for Sentinel-1: fill in the P-PRO ON DEMAND form. We will use the information collected through the form to prepare a sponsorship request for the ESA Network of Resources initiative, that we will send you for your review and approval. If authorized by ESA, the NoR sponsorship would cover the cost of using the P-SBAS DInSAR for Sentinel-1 service within a 6-months time frame.
  • For P-SBAS DInSAR for ENVISAT: request a free of charge membership to the ESA Heritage Missions Virtual Lab. Upon authorization from ESA, you will receive 100 processing hours to start using the service.

If you need any clarification, please do not hesitate to get in touch at



OCRE Project by CENTEC: more than a decade of processed CryoSat-2 and Sentinel-3 AB data over coastal zones available on ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab

We are pleased to share the conclusion of the European Commission OCRE (Open Clouds for Research Environments) [1] financed project led by CENTEC (Centre for Marine Technology and Ocean Engineering) – Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa. With our support here at EarthConsole®, this project aimed at evaluating renewable wave energy resources in the coastal zone, employing advanced high-resolution altimetry products.

CENTEC selected EarthConsole® among the providers of the OCRE Earth Observation catalogue to process data over selected coastal zones and an extensive period of 11 years (from January 2011 to December 2022) for CryoSat-2 data and 7 years (from April 2016 to December 2022) for Sentinel-3 data. The processing was conducted using the ESA-ESRIN SARvatore services for CryoSat-2 and Sentinel-3, which allow users to customise the processing from L1a to L2 data products, and include a list a configurable options such as the one used for this project, the enhanced geophysical retrieval algorithm known as the SAMOSA+ model and retracker.

These services are available for both systematic and on-demand processing via the ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab hosted on EarthConsole®.

The ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab is the virtual space that offers customised services to process Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimetry from CryoSat-2, Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich missions, providing a community space for simplified services access and knowledge-sharing.

The areas of interest processed for this project are delineated in the accompanying figure below. Green areas represent processing with both CryoSat-2 and Sentinel-3 data, yellow areas are exclusively related to CryoSat-2 data, and blue areas represent processing with Sentinel-3 data.

To download the datasets, we invite you to log into the Altimery Virtual Lab and visit its datasets repository. A free of charge subscription to the Lab will be required in case you are not yet a Lab Member.

We remind you that you could also have the chance to get the costs of the ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab services covered, by requesting a voucher to the ESA Network of Resources.

[1] OCRE receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 824079

Picture including a measurement of the water level of a river.

EarthConsole® Stories: Monitoring water level changes in the Yangtze River using FF-SAR data

EarthConsole® Stories are experiences about how we helped universities, research centres or service developers to leverage Earth Observation data to extract valuable insights for their research, educational or pre-commercial projects.

The Project

This study aims at using Sentinel-6 and Sentinel-3 FFSAR data for monitoring changes in water levels within the Yangtze River during the period of January 2019 to March 2023. A key objective of this study is to assess the precision of these datasets in the context of the Yangtze River, accomplished through comprehensive comparisons with both measured water level data and data sourced from alternative satellite monitoring systems.

In addition, the research extends into the topographical characteristics of the Yangtze River, involving a detailed analysis of waveform patterns and potential factors influencing transit points along the river. Furthermore, the study seeks to uncover the root causes behind the fluctuations in the Yangtze River’s water levels, achieving this by cross-referencing data with climate information.

The Need

The requirement at hand revolved around exploring the correlation between temporal and spatial changes in the Yangtze River’s water levels and climate change. Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6 FFSAR data stood out for their renowned accuracy in monitoring river water level changes. To facilitate this investigation effectively, EarthConsole® offered the FFSAR (Fully Focused Synthetic Aperture Radar) processor for Sentinel-6 developed by Aresys, enabling to delve into this relationship.

Why EarthConsole®

In particular, the P-PRO (Parallel Processing) service within the ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab hosted on EarthConsole® has been selected to gain access to the FF-SAR processor to process Sentinel-6 L1a data on the Yangtze River Basin.

The EarthConsole® P-PRO service proved to be an ideal fit for our project, as it provided the reliable and readily available FF-SAR processor hosted on the platform. Furthermore, this service allowed us to entrust the processing management to EarthConsole® experts, allowing me to concentrate on my research and easily retrieve the results once they were ready.”

Shanmu Ma, Student at the Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences – China

This project has been supported via the ESA Network of Resources initiative.

Banner with text saying EarthConsole 2023 wrapped.

EarthConsole® 2023 Wrapped: A Year in Review and Exciting Updates for 2024

As we near the close of 2023, it is the perfect time to unwrap some of the highlights of this year, which has been nothing short of extraordinary for EarthConsole®.

We’ve been right there, sticking to our promise of helping the scientific community getting value added information from Earth Observation data.

Been at it for years, our dedication is still going strong today and will continue in 2024, bringing in new services and options for data processing.

The ESA Heritage Missions Virtual Lab: Unleashing the Potential of Retired Earth Observation Missions

We have proudly introduced the ESA Heritage Missions Virtual Lab, a new space on EarthConsole® dedicated to harnessing the vast potential of data from non-operational Earth Observation missions.

Even though these missions have retired, their data remain a goldmine for understanding current natural phenomena.

It’s a true honour to take on this responsibility from ESA, and we’re excited to have kicked things off with the On-Demand Small Baseline Subset for ENVISAT service by IREA – CNR to study the temporal evolution of natural or human induced surface deformation.

Right now, it’s the first (and only, for the moment) service in this Lab.

But we’ve got more processors lined up, since renowned research institutions have already manifested their interest in sharing their Heritage Missions data-based algorithms with our users’ community.

These are high on our priority list for integration in 2024, so keep an eye out for those updates!

And here’s the best part—subscribing to the Lab won’t cost you a penny. Once ESA gives the green light, you’ll have a head start with 100 free processing hours.

And if you have an algorithm of your own, let us know via our web app for a chance to be considered for a free integration into the Lab.

EarthConsole® on the ESA Network of Resources: Empowering Earth Observation Research and Educational projects, also in 2024

In 2023, we assisted 20 research and educational projects that received financial support from the ESA Network of Resources, allowing their teams to utilise our services free of charge.

It’s truly gratifying to see so many of our users taking advantage of this opportunity thanks to the scientific merit of their projects.

Looking ahead to 2024, we plan to add new services to the EarthConsole® offering such as the SBAS for Sentinel-1 on demand service based on the algorithm owned by IREA – CNR. We plan to make it available in the first quarter of next year.

And we’re also excited to share that the ESA Network of Resources will continue to offer sponsorship opportunities for research, educational, and pre-commercial projects.

To get your sponsorship request process started, first connect with us through our web app to ask for the desired services. You will find us on the other side, ready to guide you through the entire process, ensuring you get the financial and technical support you need.

ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab: A Growing Community of Altimetry Data Users

The ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab on EarthConsole® continues to thrive, with over 100 members and a repository of processed data exceeding 10 TB.

This year alone, the lab’s services contributed to the publication of 5 scientific papers, adding to the 40+ publications accessible via the open ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab library.

Joining this very active community is free and easy!

And for more details on the Lab’s altimetry SAR services and a glimpse into what lies ahead, you can check out the abstract from the recent poster session held at the AGU Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

OCRE-Funded Projects: Earth Observation Services for Extensive Processing Campaigns

We have proudly served as a service provider for two research projects funded through the OCRE (Open Clouds for Research Environments) initiative. These projects involved extensive data processing using the Altimetry Virtual Lab’s ESA-ESRIN SARvatore services for CryoSat-2 and Sentinel-3 missions.

The CENTEC-led project, focusing on renewable wave energy in the Atlantic Ocean, has recently concluded, and its outcomes are generously shared through the Altimetry Virtual Lab datasets repository.

At the same time, the ongoing project led by the Technical University of Denmark aims to produce an open-access dataset derived from past and future CryoSat-2 altimetry mission acquisitions over the polar ice caps. This ambitious goal here is to turn this dataset into the go-to reference standard for the radar altimetry research community studying polar oceans.

Get ready to welcome WIMEX into the EarthConsole® suite of services widening support for the scientific community

WIMEX (Wave Interaction Models EXploitation) is ready to step into the scene next year. This ESA initiative led by Sapienza University of Rome and contributed by us at Progressive Systems as a partner, proposes a brand-new framework designed to make your life easier by letting you develop, validate and use your forward and inverse electromagnetic wave interaction models through a systematic approach.

The WIMEX prototype is gearing up to make its debut, starting with a focus on forward and inverse models for soil moisture and snow water equivalent, in the second half of 2024.

At the moment we’re on the lookout for Earth Observation innovators like you to join the beta testing crew. If you want to be part of the action and help refine the prototype once it’s ready to roll, let us know.

As we wrap up this remarkable year, we’re already gearing up for an even more Earth Observation data-rich and service-packed 2024 in the world of Earth Sciences!

Thank you for your trust and continued support, which made it all possible.

In the meantime, it’s time to rest and wish you and your loved ones a joyous and Merry Christmas, filled with warmth and happiness.

Banner of the AGU Annual Meeting 2023 taking place in San Francisco from the 11th to the 15th of December 2023.

The ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab on EarthConsole® at the AGU Annual Meeting 2023

The ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab hosted on EarthConsole® is set to take center stage at the AGU Annual Meeting 2023, offering a unique opportunity for attendees to delve into the world of its altimetry data processing services.

Dr. Jérôme Benveniste, the Lab’s initiator and Senior Advisor at the European Space Agency (ESA), is geared up to personally walk you through the online and on-demand services that make up the Lab’s portfolio during a dedicated poster session.

So if you will be in San Francisco for AGU 2023, mark your calendar for Thursday, 14 December 2023, from 14:10 to 18:30 PST, and head to Poster Hall A-C – South (Exhibition Level, South, MC) to discover:

  • The ESA-ESRIN SARvatore service for CS-2 and S-3 services, which allow users to customize the processing at L1b & L2 (a list of configurable options for, e.g., SAMOSA+/++ and ALES+ SAR retrackers, not yet available in the ESA Ground Segment).
  • The ESA SAMPY (Cryo-TEMPO project) for CryoSat-2 to append the SAMOSA+ retracker output to official CryoSat-2 Level-2 GOP products.
  • The TUDaBo SAR-RDSAR (TU Darmstadt–U Bonn SAR-Reduced SAR) for CS-2 and S-3. It allows users to generate reduced SAR, unfocused SAR & LRMC data, with configurable L1b & L2 processing options and retrackers (BMLE3, SINC2, TALES, SINCS, SINCS OV).
  • The TU München ALES+ SAR for CS-2 and S-3. It allows users to process official L1b data and produces L2 products by applying the empirical ALES+ SAR subwaveform retracker, including a dedicated Sea State Bias solution.
  • The Aresys Fully-Focused SAR for CS-2 & S-3, to produce L1b products with configurable options and appending the ALES+ FFSAR output.

And here’s the best part – if you’re not part of the Lab’s 100+users community, you can join for free.

We look forward to welcoming you to the ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab!

EarthConsole® Stories: ESA Arctic+ Salinity project studying freshwater fluxes in the Arctic

EarthConsole® Stories are experiences about how we helped universities, research centres or service developers to leverage earth observation data to extract valuable insights for their research, educational or pre-commercial projects.

The Project

Sea salinity is a key parameter that controls the ocean circulation, and currents are key drivers of the climate of the planet.

Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) serves as a crucial indicator for tracking currents and also freshwater content and fluxes as water with low salt levels can be a sign of freshwater sources like rivers and streams that flow into the ocean. This is especially important in the Arctic region, where significant changes are occurring.

However, it’s important to note that there aren’t many salinity in-situ measurements available in the Arctic region. Due to this scarcity, the use of remote sensing technology to measure salinity, specifically through L-band radiometry satellites like SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) and SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive), becomes particularly important in this area.

In the Arctic region, accurately measuring Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) is difficult for a couple of reasons. First because the satellites used (L-band satellites) are not as sensitive to changes in salinity in cold waters. Secondly the presence of sea ice complicates matters further as it interferes with satellites readings and requires careful processing.

The ESA Arctic+ Salinity project aims to address these issues and contribute significantly to bridging the knowledge gap regarding changes in freshwater fluxes in the Arctic region.

The Need

As part of the project, the research team needed to develop a new regional Arctic SMOS SSS product with the goal of enhancing two fundamental components for calculating freshwater content in the Arctic:

  • Effective spatial resolution: to enhance the clarity of satellite measurements by reducing possible disturbances in the data collected by the satellites;
  • Better characterization of the sea surface salinity dynamics: to mitigate the different errors affecting the SMOS measurements taken at different points in time.

To achieve this objective, the team decided to resort to the G-BOX hosting environment service available at EarthConsole®.

The project impact

This project will greatly help the research community. Scientists will get accurate up-to-date maps of salinity dynamics, using data from SMOS and a combination of SMOS and SMAP satellites.

This project has been supported via the ESA Network of Resources initiative.

Banner showing the title and date of the webinar (20 October 2023)

Join the webinar on EarthConsole® organized by the ESA Network of Resources

If you are wondering where to start with EarthConsole® or how to broaden your usage of the platform, we are here to help.

Join us at this EarthConsole® webinar on October 20th at 1:00 p.m. CEST, part of the ESA Network of Resources (NoR) Webinar Series.

You can expect to:

  1. Gain insights on EarthConsole® services to:
    • develop, validate and run your algorithms
    • integrate your algorithm into a scalable environment
    • perform processing campaigns on large datasets
    • run integrated applications on your own
  2. Learn from real use cases.
  3. Get a walkthrough the ESA Virtual Labs hosted on EarthConsole®, designed for specific Earth Observation communities like Altimetry and Heritage Missions data users.
  4. Explore how to get your project sponsored by the ESA NoR.

No matter your background or level of Earth Observation expertise, the presentation has been designed with everybody in mind.

Don’t forget, this webinar is free. We hope to see you there!

Banner including a picture of swell waves

EarthConsole® Stories: Sentinel-6 potential of swell wave detection using FF-SAR data

EarthConsole® Stories are experiences about how we helped universities, research centres or service developers to leverage earth observation data to extract valuable insights for their research, educational or pre-commercial projects.

The Project

In the context of the Space Flight MSc program at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering of the Delft University of Technology, this thesis project delved into the capabilities of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, the latest satellite altimetry mission, launched in November 2020 as part of the Copernicus programme.

The project aimed to compare two types of data, Level 1b Sentinel-6 Fully Focused Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) RAW and RMC data, to evaluate their differences in monitoring swell waves.

The project focused on the Channel Islands of California, where the presence of swells is dominant and especially evident in the winter period.

The Need

Recent research has shown that the performance of the RMC mode in unfocused SAR meets expectations. However, when it comes to fully focused SAR applications, there was still a need to evaluate the differences with RAW data.

That’s where EarthConsole® came into play. EarthConsole®’s Altimetry Virtual Lab provides the FF-SAR processor for Sentinel-6 developed by Aresys. This processor handles the entire journey of Sentinel-6 SAR data, starting from the raw FBR data and transforming it into FF-SAR Level1b products. This processor became indispensable since it provided FFSAR data required for extracting swell spectra information.

Why EarthConsole®

The research team chose to utilize the EarthConsole® P-PRO (parallel processing) service within the EarthConsole® Altimetry Virtual Lab to access the FFSAR (Fully Focused Synthetic Aperture Radar) for Sentinel-6.

In the course of the thesis project, creating an in-house FFSAR processor was simply beyond the project’s scope and the time constraints allocated for it. Consequently, we made the decision to leverage an external service, a choice that brought about several notable advantages. It afforded me access to a well-tested software solution and allowed me to fine-tune processing parameters to align with my specific requirements. Most notably, the substantial reduction in processing time, compared to running it on a local machine, emerged as a pivotal factor ensuring the project’s ultimate success.

The project impact

This performance analysis will be of great help to members of the scientific community who wish to use RAW data to analyze swells as it will highlight differences between RMC and RAW datasets thereby guiding a critical interpretation of the Sentinel-6 mission data.


This project has been supported via the ESA Network of Resources initiative.