Over the last 2 years Europe has acquired some of the world’s best earth observation satellite sensors; the Sentinel satellites. They provide ground breaking data that is driving a revolution in Earth Observation research and development. Sentinel satellites offer significant potential, as for the first time, dense RADAR (Sentinel-1), and optical (Sentinel-2) satellite image time series are available free-of charge to support services and science better. We have developed new approaches to combine optical and RADAR data for rapid change monitoring, to for example detect illegal deforestation activities in the tropics. Key challenges however remain that make the use of Sentinel data for large area monitoring and service development difficult. Firstly, efficient and scalable methods for combining optical and RADAR satellite image analysis are not available. Secondly, a solution that makes it easy to analyze large data amounts of the Sentinel satellites is missing. Our research will address these key challenges and will build on our existing algorithms and expertise. This proposal will support two PhD students and a Post-Doc who will work closely together with key Dutch end-users.

Objectives

  • Test, select and build an open data management infrastructure for flexible and efficient access and analysis of large amounts of Sentinel satellite data

  • Consolidate and optimize our data-driven algorithms to combine Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 data for rapid detection of disturbances (e.g. deforestation or fires)

Together with key Dutch service providers, we will demonstrate the potential of Sentinel satellite data for rapid change detection using case studies in the tropics and the Netherlands, and will put the developed software tools into practice. By making data and algorithms more accessible and applicable, this project will enable, support, and complement the overall user and market uptake strategy for Copernicus and the Netherlands. This project will enable us to consolidate expertise and develop portable software so that we can contribute to current Copernicus and ESA initiatives, towards an integrated ground segment to enhance the big data strategy of the European Union.

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