Spatial Information Infrastructure for GMES Services - Current

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					         Spatial Information Infrastructure for GMES Services
 - Current activities within the ESA GSE projects “SAGE” and “Forest
                               Monitoring” -
                                          Marek Tinz
                                       Infoterra GmbH

GMES, the joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Space Agency
is designed to establish a European capacity for the provision and use of operational
information for Global Monitoring of Environment and Security.
In 2001 the first ESA programme dedicated to GMES, called the “Earthwatch GMES
Service Element” (GSE), was approved by the ESA Ministerial Council.
As consequences, in February 2003, 10 GSE projects have been launched after a
competitive tender by ESA-ESRIN, each of them aiming to deliver pre-operational
information for monitoring and management of environment and security to end-users in
order to fulfil European policies. These GSE services will make best use of existing
Earth Observation (EO) systems and will also help to define and establish the longer-
term needs for future operational EO systems. EO and non-EO data will be integrated in
operational geo-information services and enhanced with the results of several years of
research and development. Matching the end-user needs will be assured their active
integration and consideration of existing information sources and services.

GMES Service Elements “Sage” and “Forest Monitoring”
SAGE – Service for the Provision of Advanced Geo-Information on Environmental
Pressure and State, lead by Infoterra GmbH, Germany, is one of the selected GSE
projects providing information on stress to the environment as well as indicators on
environmental quality. This information is required by environmental authorities as the
prerequisite for their reporting obligations and for the evaluation of threats, the initiation
of mitigation actions and the assessment of progress and improvements towards quality
of life and social welfare. Provision of such information can be based on existing and
future Earth Observation systems and information retrieval technology of geographical
information systems (GIS) already installed throughout Europe.

SAGE aims at the GMES priority themes “Environmental Stress” and “Land Cover”.
Emphasis will be set on the provision of environmental information on European water
and soil conditions addressed by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Soil
Protection Initiative (SPI). Thus, precursor services will be developed, implemented,
tested and demonstrated which are to meet the cardinal needs of planners and decision

The corresponding GSE project “Forest Monitoring” led by GAF AG, Germany, offers a
service package addressing the consolidation of Forest Monitoring Services wrt.
greenhouse gas/biomass reporting, monitoring of reforestation, (sub-)national forest
information systems and forest environmental indicators. The “Forest Monitoring”
services aim at the monitoring of the role of forests in global carbon cycles. In response
to user demands on local as well as on national and global level precursor services will
be set-up which will users help to fulfil their reporting commitments (e.g. Kyoto

The proposed geoland project
In response to the first thematic call related to GMES under FP-6 by the European
Commission (area Aeronautics and Space), a consortium coordinated by Infoterra
GmbH and Medias-France has submitted the Integrated Project proposal geoland to the
EC. Continuing and extending the SAGE approach, geoland’s goal is to reach pre-
operational GMES capabilities. geoland combines 56 European service providers,
research institutions, and user organisations. The broad range of “land applications”
addressed by European Directives and Policies is treated by eight sub-projects
(observatories) providing products and services. These products and services include
regional monitoring and reporting for nature protection, water and soil issues, spatial
planning, and strategic information on food security and crop monitoring, global land
cover and forest change, and natural carbon fluxes. The Earth observation data are 1)-
processed by two core services (according to the observatories’ requirements) and 2)-
analysed by the observatories (addressing end-user needs) (see figure 1).
         • Policy: ESDP, ESPON                       • CORINE Land Cover + (spatial, temporal, thematic enhancement);
         • Objectives: Monitoring of urban           • Global Land Cover (> 1 : 1,000,000 scale)
           areas and infrastructure
         • Product types: Sealed areas &                        Generic
           quality of life indicators                                                           • Policy: Global Change
                                                                 Land              Land         • Objectives: A-R-D for Kyoto &
                                               Spatial           Cover            Cover &         Protection – man-made CO2
                                               Planning                                           cycle
                                                                                                • Product types: Global forest
                                                                                  Change          change maps
• Policy: Natura 2000, Wetlands
• Objectives: Management of protected                   Operational Scenario                          • Objectives: Independent
  areas & reporting                                                                       Food          European crop monitoring
• Product types: Environmental pressure                      Data Policy                Security &      system for Food Security &
  & state Indicators                                      Data Procurement                              Trade
                                     Protection                                           Crop
                                                        Service Infrastructure           Monitor.
                                                                                                      • Continental maps & reports
                                                                                                        for FAO & NGOs
                                                         Sustainable Service
                                                                                                  • Policy: Global Change
  • Policy: Water Framework Directive
                                                                                   Natural          (Kyoto)
    & Soil Protection Initiative
                                                                                                  • Objectives: global carbon
  • Objectives: Water pollution risk & soil    Soil &                              Carbon
                                                                                                    fluxes – natural CO2 cycle
    degradation status and risk                Water            Bio-                Flux          • Monthly reports
  • Product types: Water quality & soil
    degradation models
                                                               Param. • Basic inputs for environmental change
                                                                            models, yield forecast, etc.

                                              Fig. 1: geoland top level portfolio

The Product & Service Design Process
The overall approach of precursor services is common to these three projects and
follows an implementation logic according to the value chain (fig. 2):

   •    User needs driven by policies and directives with a spatial dimension impose
        monitoring and reporting obligations. The analysis of needs takes into account
        that shortcomings of existing approaches need to be overcome; the product and
        service design process needs to establish an acceptable trade-off between
        quality and affordability of a future service.
   •    Following a late customising approach, the product specification foresees
        “modular” product building-blocks sharing common intermediate inputs in order to
        optimise production costs.
   •    The service infrastructure definition builds on an open production and service
        concept that allows networking with existing resources, an optimised balance
        between centralised and de-centralised services (combining common European
           requirements with national and/or regional customisation needs), and flexible
           scaling of resources answering to a growing demand.
     •     The pre-operational offer is not only evaluated technically, but will also undergo
           validation and acceptance tests by the users.
     •     Feedback cycles between each project implementation step will ensure an
           optimisation of the future service in terms of availability, reliability and
     •     The value chain approach is driven by a common strategic plan and an
           operational scenario evolving throughout the project.

                       User              Product
                                         Product                                             Service         Pre-
      Policies &
      Policies &                                               Product
                                                               Product         Production Service
                                                                                                              Pre-                                   Demon-
                       Needs             & Service
                                         & Service                                           Infrastructure Operational
                                                                                              Infrastructure Operational
      Directives                                               Specification
                                                               Specification   Specification
                                                                               Specification Definition                                              stration
                       Analysis          Design
                                         Design                                               Definition     Implement.

 • Legal         • Short-         • Trade-offs           • Modular        • Modular            • Open                 • Technical               • Validation &
   mandate to      comings of       between                design           processing           service                feasibility               acceptance
   monitor &       exsting          quality /              approach         chain with           infra-               • Test and                  test with
   report;         approaches       affordability        • Portfolio        open                 structure              optimisation              core users
 • Strategic     • Geo-spatial    • Substantial            synergies by     interfaces         • Networking             of process
   information     information      advantage              late           • Late                 with existing          chain
   needs           needs            through EO             customising      customising          resources

 User involvement cycle
                                            User Needs                         Product/Production          System                Service               Acceptance
                                              Review                                Review                 Review                Review                   Test

                                                         yes                                   yes                    yes                   yes                       yes
                                                    1                                     2                      3                     4                         5
                                                        no                                    no                     no                    no                        no

 commitment: Agreement on                Agreement on                           Agreement on         Agreement on            Validation of              Final
             user                        product &                              Product              Service                 pre-                       validation of
             requirements                service design                         Specification        Infrastructure          operational                service
             baseline                                                                                                        service

                       Fig. 2: Product and service design process & user involvement

Infrastructure Analysis & Operational Scenarios
The cross-sectional elements of these GSE/GMES projects are the infrastructure
analysis and the development of operational scenarios, which will establish a visionary
concept for a future operational GMES service, building on a common service concept.
The objective within the current projects is to develop integrated processing chains and
to identify cost-effective development scenarios for a Europe-wide service infrastructure
for the GMES services. The activities aim to prove the sustainability, availability,
reliability and cost efficiency of the proposed services. Therefore, an end-to-end view of
the processing chains is necessary, starting from basic input data (e.g. EO-data),
including value-adding (e.g. integration of models) and resulting in the final, value-added

The first task is the inventory and description of existing infrastructure and their possible
integration into an holistic GMES facility. Four infrastructure “types” are taken into

   1. Space infrastructure (e.g. satellites, ground segments, archives, processing
      centres …)
   2. In-situ infrastructure (e.g. ground monitoring systems)
   3. Service infrastructure (e.g. value adding, mapping)
   4. User infrastructure (e.g. decision support systems, other user facilities)

All necessary elements (hardware, software, processes, support services) of the
infrastructure are addressed with respect to their evolution from precursor stage to
medium and long-term service implementation. In addition, data policies and
procurement of space and non-space data are addressed in order to assure delivery of
input data in time.

When this inventory is completed, an overall top down analysis can be initiated: Based
on the existing assets, the various components of the service provision chain can be
streamlined in order to achieve technical, costs and operational optimisation. The output
of this comprehensive infrastructure analysis is twofold:

   1. an architectural frame in which each GMES service established within the three
      projects is mapped with dedicated functions and interfaces,
   2. a common method for developing and describing internal infrastructures and

Based on the analysis of both, the technical requirements resulting from the provided
precursor services, and of the identified gaps, realistic scenarios will be identified. In
order to develop the overall infrastructure along an efficient growth path, the following
issues and trends will be reflected:

   •   adoption of the service and evolution of user demand
   •   growth of the user community, inclusion of nations and regions in the service
       network vs. time
   •   technical and operational advances in the service supply chain, rationalisations
From project based products to GMES service networking
Today’s geo-information market is dominated by the generation of geo-information
products and services which are based on customised data generated in cost-intensive
projects. The requested information is generated in projects driven by value adding
companies, which combine data from different sources, comprising their application-
specific expertise. The result is a strongly fragmented structure of processing and value-
adding companies with high technological and structural complexity. The supply chain of
the market is characterized by a structural separation of data acquisition and data
processing. The whole value adding process consists of a customized production for a
small target group. Standard products do rarely exist. Therefore, e.g. timeliness of
production and delivery is not assured. Standardisation of e.g. tools and interfaces and
automated production approaches are not mandatory and mostly not implemented.

GMES needs will be for a variety of thematic areas – not limited to Agri-or Forestry-
Environmental issues, inherently multi-data and multi-player in character, with EO
representing one multi-mission stream of spatial data. Services are likely to be specific
to particular themes and users. Not all GMES services will be at the same level of
complexity or application. Some services will have a Europe-wide context (e.g.
environmental stress), while others may be more pertinent to national or regional users
(e.g. risks), and others may be potentially global in scope (e.g. vegetation monitoring,
humanitarian crises management).

In order to monitor and improve environmental and security conditions, main
requirements on - sustainable - GMES are:
       • Availability: services shall be available when needed and delivered in time
       • Reliability: services shall be standardised and validated
       • Affordability: services shall be cost efficient

Therefore, the common approach of the Operational Scenarios is aiming at the
generation of end-to-end GMES service networks. These networks shall be established
by co-operations/partnerships within the industry and shall include the functionalities of
“core service centres” for basic information products on the one hand and “final service
production” facilities on the other (see figure 4). A centralised process chain assures
operational production with a high amount of automated processing steps. Mainly
standardised and basic products and services are produced in a central service centres.
This approach is less applicable to services, which do not utilise standardised products
and require regional and expert knowledge.
                                                       Data Sources
                                      E/O Data                 Complementary Data

                                                    Generic Elements
                                       Generic Product Generation and Archiving
                                              Generic Product Dissemination

                  GMES service Generation
                                                    GMES Applications

            Regional Monitoring               Global Monitoring               Security Related Aspects

                                                                                                       Crisis Mgmt
            Land Cover   Environm.                                          Development      Risk
                                       Vegetation   Ocean   Atmosphere                                       &
              Change      Stress                                                Aid       Management
                                                                                                       Human. Aid

                                                    Institutions, Citizen

                                     Fig. 3: GMES System elements

From projects to service centres, the integration of service elements into the value chain
will increase. The further the processes are integrated into the value chain, the further
the performed tasks are specialized. Each single production facility will focus on
production steps according to its specific expertise and competence. The result is the
differentiation of the value chain regarding e.g. production-competencies and special

Service networking saves data dissemination costs and time by closely linking reception
and production. It is also appropriate for political and business reasons in order to
establish confidence of local customers wrt. regional services, integrity and
confidentiality of products. The network of production chains also creates large
production capacities and technological synergies.
The creation of a European spatial information infrastructure - triggered by the INSPIRE
initiative - is a main prerequisite for the delivery of such integrated information services
to the users. INPIRE should provide both, a structuring framework as well as a legal
basis for the implementation of GMES services. Without common data policy, data
sharing mechanism and harmonization of spatial data, GMES services will not succeed.

The presented GSE projects SAGE and Forest Monitoring, as well as the proposed
geoland project aim at a stepwise approach of service networking. Nevertheless, this
service infrastructure approach, including the comprising process and supply chain, is
still in the stage of development. Many elements of the modules of an end-to-end
service infrastructure already exist, but have been conceived, designed and managed in
isolation, thus limiting interoperability and production of relevant information.

In order to achieve future sustainability of the service, however, the design approach
requires a common framework to identify synergies and bottlenecks to overcome along
the end-to-end value chain for a comprehensive portfolio of products related to the
GMES services. Harmonisation of infrastructures is necessary to achieve such
synergies on a technological as well as a thematic level within the network. The result
shall be a seamless integration of systems and datasets at different levels into a
coherent European spatial data infrastructure. Therefore, the results of the INSPIRE
initiative are considered an important premise for the implementation of operational
GMES services.

Developing such an efficient and sustainable system of GMES services remains a major
challenge for further activities. Thus, for the implementation of European Capacity for
GMES until 2008, consolidated actions of GMES and INSPIRE are necessary to achieve
compatibility between existing elements, establish co-operation between the
organisations and fill the gaps where necessary.