Minimize GSCB Work Plan

Based on an initial 3-year plan defined at the end of 2005, GSCB began to work on the more critical domains for which harmonisation at the European level would bring cost savings in the ground segments and a discernible improvement in access to the EO data for users and service providers.

The first (and main) project, the Heterogeneous Mission Accessibility (HMA) study, aims at the joint definition and adoption of interoperability standards required to guarantee seamless and harmonized access to heterogeneous EO datasets.

The initial step is to define standards for the discovery, cataloguing, ordering, accessing and delivery of EO data. To do this, the GSCB is relying on the experience of its members, while following international standards and coordination with the European Commission’s INSPIRE programme.

The first standardisation version through the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) is targeted for 2007, with initial implementation in 2009. Standardisation through the European Cooperation on Space Standardisation (ECSS) will follow.

The following steps of the project are devoted to defining the harmonized format of EO data products and their quality certification and reporting. The first milestone for the data and quality harmonisation definition is 2008.

The second project is the definition of the Payload Ground Segment reference architecture by identifying the different building blocks and interfaces, and exploiting the experience of the different ground segment operators.

The adoption of a reference EO ground architecture for a simple, user-friendly, cost-efficient and inter-operable infrastructure will eventually be recommended, to:

  • ease the implementation and integration of new missions and EO data;
  • reduce competitiveness in ground segment development by industry;
  • serve the European EO data user community in a harmonised way;
  • provide a unified European technical standard towards GEOSS.

The third project is the definition and adoption of a common strategy for the long-term preservation of EO data. The strategy will define the technical and managerial approach and provide recommendations for data access, security and archive operations, maintenance and evolution, including data reprocessing and data integrity.

The activity will capitalise on policies already in force for preserving digital data archives (at ESA, national space agencies, Eumetsat) and will consider European Union initiatives like the CASPAR project. The first strategy proposal is planned for 2007.

Other areas of common interest are:

  • the sharing of telecommunications networking infrastructure, both ground and satellite. The concept relies on the cost-benefit advantages of procuring a common higher capacity network infrastructure, aggregating the needs from different EO operators, rather than proceeding with independent procurements;
  • the optimisation of security requirements for the future benefit of dual European missions;
  • the identification and sharing of tools for the description, test data generation and manipulation of EO products and ground system interfaces.
  • GSCB is not a new standardization body. Its purpose is to identify and promote the use of a common set of standards to perform the above activities. In doing so, it liaises with the various existing standardisation bodies or initiatives, such as OGC, GEO and INSPIRE.
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