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Utilising grid technology for radar Earth observation satellite data

Processing data from ASAR sensor of Envisat satellite

Project duration: 2005 to 2007

Project manager: Martin Pačes

The main objective of the GRID project was to acquire relevant knowledge and demonstrate effective use of Grid technology for Earth Observation Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data processing. This was achieved by porting of miscellaneous SAR data handling SW packages to Grid and by development of related high level SAR-based functionality available to users through the “Grid Processing-On-Demand” (G-POD) web portal. The major benefits brought by Grid technology to EO data processing are fast and seamless access to a large bulk of data and the possibility of on-demand processing. Two prototype SAR data processing services have been prepared by the project.

The first service is the Large Scale Mapping (parallelized mosaicking) service which is able to produce fast high-resolution ortho-rectified ASAR mosaics, re-project/re-sample existing mosaics and combine different mosaics to RGB images. The service is able to process the data in substantially shorter time due to the fast download of the data from on-line storage and distributed processing load over many computers.

The second service called Multi-Temporal Analysis (change detection), allows the selection of a single reference image and single or multiple historical data for desired area of interest. This service can be a useful tool reducing the delay between the accessing and processing of the satellite data in case of emergency mapping demanded by natural disasters where time is a critical factor.

The activities of the project were carried out in close collaboration with ESA/ESRIN G-POD team. The role of Iguassu Software Systems was to prepare the software components ranging from low-level tools to hi-level functional blocks and their work-flow, testing of all the software components, and assistance during the G-POD integration.

Iguassu Software Systems (ISS)

The company was established in 1994. It is focused on high-tech solutions including real-time software development from industrial systems to satellite control and satellite navigation. Customers include the European Space Agency and its suppliers, Eumetsat, HP, Agilent, Ingersoll-Rand and Inter-American Development Bank. ISS is currently working on:

  • Parallel Data-Mining Components (prime Iguassu)
  • Real-time EGNOS Performance Monitoring (prime Iguassu)
  • Interference Monitoring System for GNSS Reference Stations (subcontractor of Astrium D)
  • Open-standard On-line Observation Services (subcontractor of EOX)

What would you name as main benefits of the project to you and your company?

“Working on this project enriched both our company and me by several invaluable experiences of direct cooperation with the European Space Agency. From the professional perspective it was an opportunity to understand better the GRID technology and distributed computation techniques applied to remote sensing products, specifically the G-POD (Grid Processing On Demand) infrastructure in ESA ESRIN. Personally I also very much appreciate the opportunity to work in the international team based directly in ESRIN in Frascati and to have a first-hand experience, how ESA works internally.”