The long term preservation of Earth Observation data is a major issue today as monitoring of global change processes has lead to increasing demand for long-term time series of data spanning 20 years or more also in support to international initiatives such for example the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the ESA Climate Change Initiative (CCI) and the GMES program. The large amount of new Earth Observation missions upcoming in the next years will lead to a major increase of EO space data volumes and this fact, together with the increased demands from the user community, marks a challenge for Earth Observation satellite operators, Space Agencies and EO space data providers regarding coherent data preservation and optimum availability and accessibility of the different data products. Traditionally in Europe, there has been poor cooperation in this field with no common approach for long term preservation and access to EO space data and single organizations have difficulties to afford data preservation in the long term that calls for the need of optimising costs and efforts, identifying commonalities.
ESA started at the beginning of 2008 a coordination activity with the goal to set-up a cooperative and harmonized collective approach on Long Term Data Preservation (LTDP) in Europe (i.e. a European EO LTDP Framework) to optimize European efforts in the LTDP field and to ultimately result in the preservation of the complete European EO space data set for the benefit of all European users and with a reduction of overall costs. ESA and its partners, through the Ground Segment Coordination Body (GSCB) LTDP working group, have already published, as a first concrete step for the set-up of this framework, an LTDP guidelines document publicly reviewed by all European data owners and available at the link: http://earth.esa.int/gscb/ltdp/EuropeanLTDPCommonGuidelines_Issue1.0.pdf. An LTDP Preparatory Programme was also approved by ESA member states in 2008 for the period 2009-2011 having the goal to implement the most urgent activities to guarantee the preservation in the long term of ESA managed Earth Observation data and to continue the ongoing LTDP cooperation activities aimed at setting up the European LTDP framework.
In this context ESA has started a project with an European company (Capgemini Italia S.p.A) named FIRST (deFInition of LTDP user Requirements and preservation data SeT composition) aimed at providing a complete and detailed view and analysis of the Earth Science users requirements and needs in all fields of applications in terms of Long Term Preservation of Earth Science data, products and related information and at defining the composition of the Earth Science data set that should be preserved in the long term.
The aim of the Long Term Data Preservation User Needs workshop (LTDP/FIRST) organized at ESRIN by the ESA Earth Observation Ground Segment department (EOP-G) with the support of Capgemini Italia SpA is to:
- Present the new ESA missions' data policy to the Earth Science users' community.
- Share and provide an overview of Earth Science users needs and requirements for the data preservation captured in the frame of the FIRST project.
- Integrate additional user needs and feedbacks to consolidate the Earth Science users' community requirements.
- Present the LTDP activities and the future vision.