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European Strategy for Long-term EO data preservation and access

Mirko Albani(1), Vincenzo Beruti(1) and Maria Eugenia Forcada(1)

(1) EO Ground Segment Department, ESA/ESRIN, Via Galileo Galilei, 00044 Frascati, Italy


The volume of EO data archived by ESA actually exceeds 3 petabytes and is in constant increase with the on-going operations of ESA and Third Party Missions. New datasets coming from the future Earth Explorer and GMES missions will contribute to increase the volume in the years to come. All these datasets are archived for the long term in several centres around Europe and are used to generate systematic and on demand end user products. The normal mandate for ESA’s EO missions is to maintain the archive for at least 10 years after the end of the mission active life. The requirements for accessing historical archives strongly increased over the last ten years and the trend is likely to increase much more in the future mainly for the long term science and the long term environmental monitoring applications.

On the other hand, it is well known that the data to be preserved for the long term require a special attention, which reflects in costly operations for their exploitation and maintenance. EO data archiving strategies, standards and formats moreover are generally different for each EO mission, operator or agency. In the meantime the issue is getting bigger and more urgent since more and more EO missions data can be called ‘historic’ and more and more operators are faced with the decision if and how to preserve their data while keeping it easily accessible. ESA’s EO Ground Segment Department is to this end defining a strategy for the implementation of a long-term data preservation and access policy to be harmonized and extended at European level in cooperation with the Member States Agencies through the Ground Segment Coordination Body and with the European Commission.

The strategy aims at: 1) Extending the Earthnet Archive Management Strategy to all the ESA managed mission data (ERS, ENVISAT, Explorers and other future missions). 2) Ensuring and enhancing the data preservation for all past, current and future ESA and ESA managed Earth Observation Third Parties missions at the processing level recommended by the mission’s requirements. 3) Ensuring easy user access to data and related metadata, browse, the concerned documentation and processing/reprocessing capability whenever applicable. 4) Enhancing the archive exploitations initiatives including the generation of products tuned to large applications and higher level and to information extraction, simplifying the set-up and provision of services. 5) Harmonizing the strategy at European level with EC and appointed National entities and pursuing commonalities of policies at International level.

The baseline strategy is based on a set of basic elements: 1) Archived data integrity. 2) Evolution of archives logistic infrastructure 3) Enhancement of user data access and products formats. 4) Enhancement of archived data exploitation. 5) Extraction, handling and provision of information 6) Adoption and evolution of standards. 7) Extension towards a full European/International dimension (European LTDP).


Workshop presentation

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry