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EarthConsole: earth observation platform

New to EarthConsole®? Our earth observation data processing platform in brief

We often receive many questions about how to start with our services and how to use them at no charge. We have collected some of the answers to your questions in this post.

If you need extra clarifications, drop us an email at info@earthconsole.eu.

What is EarthConsole® for?

EarthConsole® is a cloud-based platform to ease the exploitation of earth observation data. Thanks to its computing power co-located with EO data archives, it offers support solutions from developing algorithms to bulk processing, and everything that is between.

Let’s take a deeper look at what they are for:

  • G-BOX Algorithm Development and Execution Environment: you can develop and test your algorithm and do post-processing analysis on a virtual machine with fast access to the Copernicus DIAS datasets and pre-installed software.
  • I-APP Application Integration Service: either you have developed your algorithm or you wish to use a third party application for processing, you can rely on our expert support to integrate it into the EarthConsole® environment for massive processing.
  • P-PRO Parallel Processing Service: you will be enabled to scale up your processing campaign on a wider area of interest and time window.
  • P-PRO ON DEMAND Parallel Processing on Demand: to manage small processing tasks via the user-friendly interface of our P-PRO ON DEMAND platform.

EarthConsole® supports the principles of a User-Centred Design approach. We focus on our users’ needs in all phases of the development of the platform. We always have an ear to listen to your feedback to evolve our solutions.

Who should use EarthConsole®?

EarthConsole® is for all those who need to process earth observation data in the R&D phase of their project. For sure researchers, PhDs, the stakeholders orbiting around ESA and national space agencies are the primary beneficiaries of EarthConsole®. But our services are not limited to these typologies of users.

Startups innovators and entrepreneurs not belonging to the earth observation domain can also take advantage of our services. For example, they can receive training in the pre-commercial phase of their project to better learn how to use satellite data to develop new services with high-commercial value.

Let’s not forget about universities and their students. The data scientist is one of the most fast-growing occupations. We are in the position to offer training experiences providing a solid preparation on the Copernicus satellites sensors, characteristics, data typologies and their main applications.

Plus, G-BOX enables mass configuration of tens of virtual machines with the same settings which you can access from any location and any OS (Windows, Linux, MAC). This makes it the ideal solution for a class of students intending to improve their skills with the development of earth observation applications.

Which are the processors ready for use?

We have a list of processors for Altimetry, SAR and Optical applications, integrated and ready to use either for bulk and/or on-demand processing:

And if the processor you need is not there, you can ask us to integrate it with the I-APP service. EarthConsole® allows to integrate in principle any processor also coming from other platforms. And you can in any moment decide to share the processor with other users or keep it for your use only.

How to receive a voucher for using EarthConsole®?

Well yes, you may use our services at no charge for you or your institution. Our solutions are on the ESA EO Network of Resources (NoR), an initiative to foster the use of cloud environments. If you have a research, educational or pre-commercial project, you can ask for a voucher which may totally cover the costs of our services.

The process to request the voucher is very simple, and we will be there to guide you step by step.

But you may be wondering what happens if the sponsorship application at NoR is not successful.
You don’t have to worry because you won’t have to buy the service at your own expenses if you don’t want to. You will be able to withdraw your service request, without any penalty.

How can you start?

First you must request the service you need through our webapp. We will receive your request and do our assessment to offer the solution that best fits your needs.

In case you will select the NoR sponsorship option, we will provide you with the voucher request form filled in for your approval and signature. If it is ok, you will have to submit it to NoR and wait for the evaluation.

In case of acceptance, we will contact you to start using EarthConsole® services.

As easy as it sounds!

P-PRO ON DEMAND

EarthConsole® P-PRO On Demand for fast EO data access and rapid processing

EarthConsole® has been designed to assist users throughout the different phases of their research project, offering support services along the whole process from algorithm development and testing to massive processing campaigns. All this while ensuring a high degree of scalability of the processing capacity to create flexible services which help researchers to:

  1. overcome the need of implementing their processing capability in their own research infrastructure
  2. save costs and time on processing activities and
  3. improve their efficiency on the research project they are undertaking.

With this goal in mind, in early 2022 we have launched P-PRO On Demand, the EarthConsole® service providing the capacity to process online and on-demand EO data from ESA and non-ESA missions. The P-PRO On Demand platform is a flexible platform where you can perform small processing tasks and multiple tests by configuring the area of interest, the time window and customizable processor input parameters according to your requirements and autonomously, thanks to a user-friendly and intuitive interface.

P-PRO On Demand in a nutshell

Choose the processor from a set of ready to use services

In principle, any processor can be integrated in P-PRO and associated with a dedicated ready to use on-demand service (for more info see I-APP). During these first months of operations , upon processor owners’ requests, some integrations have been already successfully carried out. Therefore, at present the P-PRO On Demand application catalogue includes L1b & L2 customisable processors, enabling Sentinel-1 GRD IW and EW, Sentinel-2 L1C, Sentinel-3 SRAL and Cryosat-2 SIRAL SAR & SARin & FF-SAR data processing.

You can select the processor you need to perform your processing tasks from a set of services ready for use:

  • ALES+ SAR Retracker – developed by the Technical University of Munich,
  • FF-SAR (Fully Focused SAR) for CryoSat-2 and Sentinel-3 – 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
  • Sen2CorSNAC – SNAP S-1 GRD Amplitude Change

P-PRO ON DEMAND processing services

And more processors are to come, also provided by users. Thanks to the P-PRO On Demand infrastructure flexibility, it is possible to integrate new processors which are not currently available in the platform. By resorting to the I-APP service, it is possible to request the integration of your own processor, and freely decide to keep it private or share it with the EarthConsole® community.

Select an area of interest and a time window

Next, thanks to the interactive web interface, it is possible to draw an area of interest, select the acquisition time and one of the available input EO data collections.

P-PRO ON DEMAND - area of interest and acquisition time

It is then possible to configure the processor parameters according to your requirements, and submit the task, to launch the processing.

Monitor the whole processing in real time

Following the submission of the job, P-PRO On Demand allows you to monitor the status of the processing tasks in real time and in complete autonomy. Once the processing has been completed you can easily access the task’s log files and results from the task history dashboard.

P-PRO ON DEMAND - Processing Monitoring

How to get started

You can request the service by filling in the form at this link, which will be assessed by our team. Usually each user will be allocated 500 credits (corresponding to 500 processing hours). In case you have specific needs, you can request up to 2200 credits, by specifying the reasoning of your request.

If you have a research, development or pre-commercial project, P-PRO On Demand may be accessible free of charge in the framework of the ESA Network of Resources initiative. Our team provides complete support to submit a sponsorship request for your project, allowing you to benefit from EarthConsole® services at no additional cost for you.

More information is available here.

In addition to the NoR Framework, EarthConsole® services are also available via the OCRE Earth Observation Catalogue for Research. If you are an OCRE EO funding for research winner, EarthConsole® may be selected as a service provider for your research project. More information is available in this blog post we published last March.

For more clarifications, contact us at info@earthconsole.eu.

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!