Building a forestry processing platform ready for the Copernicus age

The first iteration of the Forestry Thematic Exploitation Platform (F-TEP) will be released to champion users in the coming months. F-TEP is being created to provide an online data processing and dissemination resource for the forestry community that is ready to utilize the volume shift in data in the Copernicus age.

With the very large volumes of data now being provided from the multiple Sentinel missions and other satellites, the limitations for effective science and value adding business are becoming less about lack of data, but more about using effective tools and resources to find, process and analyse such data. Such large data volumes mean that longer time to download, larger storage devices, advanced processors and high powered computing are all needed.

F-TEP will provide, via the F-TEP portal, a self-service environment in which users can create various forestry products such as land cover maps, biomass estimations and species analysis, and track deforestation. It will provide a means to move away from the model where each user works in their own ‘silo’ to a more collaborative environment. This will allow users to keep up to date with and share knowledge about data and processing techniques with the wider forestry community. It will help reduce the costs of data acquisition and processing from miscellaneous sources with varying formats and processing levels.

To achieve these goals F-TEP needs to deliver a smart ICT-based solution that provides functionality and performance in a user-friendly environment. It also needs to be scalable to ensure it can provide a cost-effective solution. Openness and integration are also key aspects of the solution, enabled with the use of Open Source Software and adherence to standards such as OGC Web Services. To ensure efficient processing of large data volumes modern container-based technologies such as Docker™ will be used.

Technologies to be used within F-TEP

This pre-operational F-TEP solution sits on the CEMS Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) which is hosted alongside an extensive satellite data archive within CEDA / STFC. This will provide faster and more efficient access to data. The platform has been designed to be infrastructure-independent and hence could be migrated onto any IaaS. The F-TEP solution utilises various open source solutions to ensure data access, processing and visualization.

Key functionality will provided by industry standard software including the Sentinel Toolboxes, QGIS, the ORFEO Toolbox and proprietary image processing software developed by VTT. Registered users will be able to define processing jobs, selected from a range of EO data processing applications and workflows, which will be then executed and the resulting products available to be visualized, further processed or downloaded. Users will also be able to upload their own algorithms and fine-tune these using the large range of data available. Users all have the ability to share, or not, their algorithms and products with the wider community – hence collecting important peer-feedback.

F-TEP is designed to allow users to easily access, via a web-browser, a wide range of functionality. The user dashboard will enable users to at a glance understand important information about their accounts, including resource usage, recent activities and to access previously created products.

Over the next few months an initial test release of F-TEP will be made available to pre-selected champion users. Based on the feedback obtained the next version of the platform will have a wider release in Spring 2017. Please contact us to express your interest and to register to become a user.

Rakesh Prithiviraj, F-TEP Technical Lead

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