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Discover Earth like never before: the HEDAVI tool

04 Dec 2023

The Heritage Data Visualisation tool, or HEDAVI, enables the analysis of global spatio-temporal dynamics of natural and artificial environments, covering over 40 years of ESA Earth Observation Heritage data, Third Party Missions and some Copernicus data.

Developed by the French Science Consulting for Earth Observation group, VisioTerra, ESA’s HEDAVI tool offers two types of user experience: the Discover mode allows beginner users of Earth Observation (EO) data to easily visualise thousands of images and a list of case-studies, which showcase the usefulness of such EO data in a variety of contexts and applications, while the Explorer mode allows advanced data users to perform on-the-fly processing and analysis of a variety of datasets.

HEDAVI’s Explorer mode

Within the Discover mode users can find a gallery of case-studies based on EO data and related to specific locations and/or events (natural and anthropogenic hazards, urbanisation, deforestation, etc...), showcasing the potential of EO in monitoring and protecting the environment, assessing damage, providing support during emergencies, and more. 

Available records are mapped on the globe (3D and 2D view available) and grouped by thematic areas. Users can select a case-study and navigate through it, visualising the images used for the context and finding a short text describing the employed data and the area/event of interest.

In addition, a synthesis function allows to visualise temporal series (syntheses) of data to display the evolution of user-defined regions of interest (or on global scale) through a number of EO-based parameters and over a user-defined temporal window. 

All EO based images offered by HEDAVI can be displayed at different resolutions (up to their full resolution), by simply zooming in and out over the selected area of interest.

Exploring Earth using HEDAVI

These images are displayed above a background map, which can be selected from the following:

  • Natural Earth – “Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10 m, 1:50 m, and 1:110 million scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software.” 
  • MERIS Mosaic – A global map at 1 km resolution derived from the Envisat MERIS mosaic based on acquisitions from March-April 2003
  • Bright Oceans – A nice and light global map highlighting hydrology and bathymetry, based on cultural and physical vector data coming from Natural Earth and processed by VisioTerra
  • OpenStreetMap – The popular world map in classic and humanitarian versions
  • DEM and Bathymetry – A global map combining the Copernicus DEM GLO 30 for land areas and GEBCO Bathymetry 2022 for water bodies, processed by VisioTerra
  • Sentinel-2 cloudless – A global cloudless mosaic processed by EOX from Sentinel-¬2 acquisitions and available for several years (2020, 2019, 2018 and 2016)
  • CCI-LC – A global 300 metres land cover map processed by ESA in the framework of the Climate Change Initiative and available for the years 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015

Aside from background maps, users may enable terrain modelling based on the Copernicus DEM GLO 30. 

HEDAVI terrain modelling
HEDAVI terrain modelling

Kévin Gross, software engineer of VisioTerra, states, “HEDAVI Discover is a gate to Earth’s memory through ESA’s Heritage data and Third Party Missions. The case-studies gallery allows users to grasp the capabilities of Earth Observation, while the Synthesis function offers the full archive of Envisat radar acquisitions visualisation.”