Very High Resolution data to take centre stage

28 Sep 2022

SAR very high resolution image of Mount Taranaki

In the last few years, European New Space providers have helped strengthen the offering of very high resolution remote sensing data products—a designated workshop this November aims to focus on the latest developments in this arena.

The New Space economy is developing rapidly in Europe, apace with strong global competition. As new commercial players provide narrowly focused satellites at reduced costs, ESA’s Agenda 2025 highlights how the agency shall help boost this growing economy.

ESA’s Third Party mission (TPM) Programme supports European New Space by facilitating free access to commercial data for research and scientific purposes.

As a consequence of New Space activity, there is a heightened interest in space borne very high resolution (VHR) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and optical data.

An open forum – New Space, commercial and institutional – for discussion around the calibration and validation of VHR SAR and optical sensor and data products, shall be provided shortly by ESA at the next VH-RODA workshop (Very High-resolution Radar & Optical Data Assessment).

The VH-RODA 2022 workshop will be held at ESA/ESRIN in Frascati (Italy) from 7–10 November. This will be the third edition of the workshop and will host community discussions and dialogue on this emerging area.

The most recent VH-RODA workshop, which took place online in April 2021, successfully hosted around 400 registrants and a daily audience of 160 participants.

The workshop broached the continuative comparison between the SAR and Optical communities and Institutional and Commercial communities - on the methodologies related to the data quality and products validation.

It aimed to facilitate dialogue between public and commercial entities on data quality and Cal/Val topics and identify synergies and gaps across complementary roles, to enable a long-term interoperability.

It became clear from discussions at the workshop that in the era of New Space, - as data from different satellites are utilised by worldwide users in a complementary and synergetic manner - coordination on calibration/validation (Cal/Val) and data quality activities is crucial.

Genova airport in very high resolution

There were presentations on how sensor fusion should drive the deployment of new space assets, instrument calibration and characterisation strategies, and applications of Artificial Intelligence for Cal/Val.

Data processing, ground-based infrastructures, as well as calibration networks were also discussed.

For the 3rd VH-RODA workshop in November, the workshop topics will be further enhanced to expand on the impact of New Space on the arena.

The agenda will be finalised soon - after the last call-out for abstracts ends on 3 October – but topics will range from the commercial entities in Cal/Val activities, synergies between optical and SAR communities, presentations of standards and best practices for data quality.