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The EarthConsole® Virtual Lab for the Altimetry community

The EarthConsole® Altimetry Virtual Lab, funded by ESA, aims at providing a virtual space to:

  • Support the Altimetry community in the development & operation of new Earth Observation applications;
  • Foster collaboration by leveraging on knowledge-sharing tools.

The Altimetry Virtual Lab has been developed on the new EarthConsole® platform and hosts the SARvatore (SAR Versatile Altimetric TOolkit for Research & Exploitation) family of processors which was previously available in the ESA Grid Processing On-Demand (G-POD) environment. The Altimetry Virtual Lab ensures service continuity following the recent termination of the G-POD environment.

The driving concept is to offer the same processing capabilities formerly available in ESA G-POD while improving the user experience by combining:

  • The access to innovative, fully customizable, altimetry data processing services from a single environment at the push of a button;
  • The availability of a set of tools to network with colleagues, keep up with the latest news and publications on radar altimetry, and share results to avoid duplication of efforts;
  • The flexibility of a virtual space which can be further reshaped following the future emerging needs of the community.

In particular, Altimetry Virtual Lab users can:

  1. Request & access, through the G-BOX service, a virtual machine for algorithm development, testing and post-processing analysis. Each virtual machine also includes software for altimetry data analysis & visualization: BRAT (http://www.altimetry.info/toolbox/), Panoply (https://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/panoply/) and Python;
  2. Request to access and process data with the following processors which have been integrated and are ready for use:
    • ALES+ SAR Retracker – developed by the Technical University of Munich,
    • FF-SAR (Fully Focused SAR) for CryoSat-2 – developed by Aresys srl,
    • SARINvatore for CS-2, SARvatore for CS-2, SARvatore for S3 – developed by the ESA-ESRIN Altimetry Team
    • TUDaBO SAR-RDSAR – developed by the University of Bonn.
      All processors can be requested for both bulk (P-PRO service) or on-demand (P-PRO ON DEMAND service) processing;
  3. Request to integrate, through the I-APP service, additional processors;
  4. Access a set of tools to network and share information and results with colleagues: a forum, a datasets repository, and a knowledge-base with relevant altimetry publications and media for consultation;

Jérôme Benveniste, the initiator and coordinator of the GPOD/SARvatore service and its migration to the EarthConsole®, commented:

The GPOD/SARvatore Altimetry processing on-demand tool has been a great success fostering more than 25 peer-reviewed publications, 3 PhD thesis and tens of presentations to conferences in the past six years. Thanks to this SARvatore Family framework supported by ESA, several new and innovative altimetry retrackers were developed going beyond the standard Ground Segment algorithms, some by ESA, some donated by users, and were made accessible to worldwide Altimetry users, for breakthrough research in the oceanic coastal zone, inland water and the cryosphere domains. It was clear to ESA that, albeit the obsolescence of the GPOD, this adventure had to be continued and supported. I wish great success to the new EarthConsole® Altimetry Virtual Lab environment, which I’m sure will be a change of gears in efficiency and attractiveness to users.

The Altimetry Virtual Lab intends to lead the way for further virtual labs dedicated to other Earth observation communities and foster interdisciplinarity among them to advance collaboratively in the Earth observation sector.

Access to the Altimetry Virtual Lab web site is free of charge . If you are a former SARvatore G-POD data user or an altimetry data user, please visit this page for detailed instructions to join the EarthConsole® Altimetry Virtual Lab.

All the Altimetry Virtual Lab services are available via the ESA EO Network of Resources initiative. Users with a research, development, pre-commercial, or educational project, may be eligible to apply for an ESA sponsorship and receive a voucher to access these services free of charge or at very competitive prices.

Any request for information related to the Altimetry Virtual Lab should be sent to info@earthconsole.eu with support@earthconsole.eu and altimetry.info@esa.int in cc.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Lab!