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GÉANT and the European Space Agency join forces to distribute Copernicus data

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GÉANT – Europe’s leading collaboration on e-infrastructure and services for research and education – and the European Space Agency (ESA) have finalised an agreement to distribute data from Copernicus, the EU earth observation and monitoring programme, to research and education users worldwide.

"Making earth observation data widely available is beneficial to all of us. The GÉANT community therefore is extremely proud to be enabling this large-scale collaboration, something that would not be possible without our close partner DFN" GÉANT CEO Ste​ve Cotter

Copernicus collects vast amounts of global data from satellites and other systems which it stores, analyses and distributes for a wide range of applications including environment protection, agriculture, health, transport, climate change, sustainable development and emergency response and crisis management in the case of natural disasters.

DFN, the German National Research and Education Network (NREN), will connect the Copernicus data centre gateway in Frankfurt via a 10Gbps (gigabits per second) link to the pan-European GÉANT network that together with Europe’s NRENs and e-infrastructure partners connects over 50 million users and is helping to keep Europe at the heart of scientific excellence.

Mr. G. Buscemi, Network and Security Officer of the Copernicus Ground Segment explains, “Earth observation datasets are vast and their value to users cannot be underestimated. To ensure the continued distribution of these datasets, GÉANT and the NRENs are an essential partner, delivering the scalable, robust capacity required to meet the Copernicus programme’s critical parameters, including bandwidth and latency, reliability and geographical scope. This important partnership will help citizens, researchers and policy makers improve their decision-making, which could have dramatic benefits for society.”

About Copernicus

The Copernicus programme, led by the European Union, is one of the most ambitious Earth Observation systems to date and aims to manage the environment and respond to the challenges of global change.

The fast provision of accurate data is central to this innovative global monitoring initiative, which offers key information services for a wide range of practical applications to improve and secure everyday life and to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

EU’s main partner in this endeavour is ESA which coordinates the space component. This component is made of satellites developed specifically to meet Copernicus needs, so called Sentinel families, and of missions from other space agencies, not designed originally for Copernicus, but contributing to the program. As well as the challenging task of building and launching a satellite, the success of this Earth observation programme relies on being able to operate the satellite from the ground and ensure that the data gathered are of good quality and made readily available to users.

Copernicus will be affected by a growing volume of data and information. There is no definitive answer to the many challenges the deluge of available data will pose, but there are gradual solutions for Copernicus in view of the progressive expansion of the space infrastructure and the thematic services. To cope with this, a robust data dissemination infrastructure needs to be developed, including in particular the development of the Big Data paradigm in the Copernicus data dissemination architecture. This means that an underlying framework is required to support growing requirements (e.g. new products in the Copernicus services, platforms interoperability, hosted processing, cloud computing). Copernicus data must first be captured, and then organized and integrated. There are myriads of individual technologies and libraries which provide an overall analytics framework (e.g. Hadoop, MapReduce, parallel processing, distributed file systems) needed to process the required massive amounts of data in an efficient, cost-effective, and timely fashion.

The EC, jointly with ESA, are working on a step by step evolution of the current Copernicus Ground Segment and Data dissemination system in order to incorporate some of the above data management technologies.

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

About DFN

Deutsches Forschungsnetz e. V. (DFN) is the non-profit association that manages operation and development of Germany’s National Research and Education Network. Founded in 1984 DFN today represents with more than 330 members the vast majority of German academia. DFN’s mission is to foster research and higher education by promoting innovation and development as well as operation and utilization of network resources. To achieve this, DFN is involved in a number of projects. Together with its members, DFN investigates in organizing and managing federated services. This extends the role of DFN from a network service organization to an enabler of e-Infrastructure processes for research and higher education communities. More information about DFN is available at: www.dfn.de/

About GÉANT

GÉANT is Europe’s leading collaboration on network and related e-infrastructure and services for the benefit of research and education, contributing to Europe’s economic growth and competitiveness. The organisation develops, delivers and promotes advanced network and associated e-infrastructure services, and supports innovation and knowledge-sharing amongst its members, partners and the wider research and education networking community.