Pecora/ISRSE Conference: cloud platforms, automation, Landsat

Baltimore landscape at night time.

The Forestry-TEP platform and Forest Flux carbon assimilation project were presented in the Pecora/ISRSE Conference in October in Baltimore.

About five hundred remote sensing scientists mainly from the United States with a moderate attendance from Europe gathered to the 21st Pecora. The event gave a good overview of the major trends of the American optical remote sensing. The radar community participated hardly at all in this conference.

The Scientific viewpoint was emphasized in Pecora. This was a clear difference compared to ESA’s Living Planed Symposium, in which the value adding industry has a significant role. The research was driven by universities, NASA and the USGS. It focused largely on big environmental questions for science use, such as sustainable development goals of the United Nations, and nationwide to global forest cover mapping and monitoring.

In the algorithmic domain, time series analysis, neural networks including deep networks, and automation of image analysis were among the present trends. Sentinel data had not yet completely crossed the Atlantic since the Landsat imagery was still the dominant data source in the projects.

Use of cloud computing platforms has already a history in the US because the Google Earth Engine has offered for the research community a free computing environment with growing algorithm base for several years. The European efforts with the DIAS infrastructure and the TEPs aim at building a similar but closer-to-end-user environment and ecosystem for the value adding of Sentinel and other Earth observation data.

Use of the Open Data Cube was demonstrated in several presentations. This open source software is one building component in the European Data Cube for which an ESA-funded development project was recently started. Forestry-TEP is preparing for using a data cube facility to ensure a quick and smooth service for our customers.

Tuomas Häme