Today, Earth Observation (EO) data are freely available in large quantities. However, the main obstacle to their use by the general public is that these data are sometimes hard to access, and a precise image can be hard to find from the large amount of data available. In addition, the data cannot always be exploited due to weather conditions, and its interpretation can be challenging (different bands, resolution and geometry, …). Another reason why these data are not widely used by the general public is that they are not currently highlighted by search engines (e.g. a query returns almost no results from EO).
What is SnapEarth?
SnapEarth is a EU H2020-funded project that aims to facilitate access to Earth Observation data from the general public thanks to EO data labelling and indexation innovations and access from the Qwant search engine.
The SnapEarth project aims to bring out new values through large-scale earth observation data services and to anticipate future priorities by leveraging artificial intelligence and cloud computing technologies and tools.
SnapEarth users and service providers will benefit in a transparent way from the processing platforms and data collections provided not only by future C -DIAS but also any cloud computing service provider. This cloud brokerage solution provides an efficient, cost-effective environment while also protecting investment in future third parties developing their own services.
The project will be a portal for natural language queries on images. The use of language processing as an interface between the user and the system for extracting information from images is one of the keys to the broad adoption of the system. This will allow users even without knowledge of EO to perform complex semantic searches.
To all those who want to use EO data. Mainly for users who want to create their own solutions based on EO data, or use ready-made products derived from satellite data. Thanks to the use of a natural search language, you will not need to know programming languages, which will facilitate the work for less advanced users. Each of the project components has its target groups:
EarthSearch Portal is targeted to General Public;
EarthSelf service is dedicated to EO service creators (called also service providers), like the 4 pilots, and independent users;
EarthPress pilot - information packages will be delivered to Press professionals;
EarthClimate pilot will be delivered to recipient groups related to: decision-makers (like cities, regional, national administration, road administration), health organisation, climate organisations, climate research institutions, citizens;
EarthFoodSecurity pilot will be delivered to targeted customers such as: food security organisations, international development consultancies, water resources associations, NGOs, multilateral agencies, regional or national administrations, agropastoral associations, research institutions;
EarthAgriculture pilot will be delivered to groups related to: regional or national Administrations, agricultural policy decision makers, medium and large-scale farmers, agriculture organisations, agricultural research institutions (such as universities).
The SnapEarth platform concept
The SnapEarth services will be developed by project partners based on the needs expressed by their customers together with an innovative platform and leading sets of earth observation data.
The main building blocks for making SnapEarth platform and these services:
SafeScale - an open source (Apache License) Infrastructure and Platform as a Code tool. It offers an APIs and a CLI (Command Line Interface) tools to deploy versatile computing clusters that span multiple Clouds. SafeScale is the foundation of the SnapEarth platforms. The processing framework will be supplied by SafeScale and the computing infrastructure deployed on future Copernicus DIASs. SafeScale APIs will offer to user self-service web portal to manage their computing infrastructure. SafeScale ensures to EC both an incomparable power and a no vendor lock-in for access and processing of Earth Observation data, through the associated EarthSelf-Service (3).
EarthSignature - is based on artificial intelligence (deep learning models) designed to extract biophysical land cover semantic information from satellite imagery. It automatically and accurately maps the images provided by satellites for indexation. All data produced by EarthSignature dataset will be automatically indexed and accessible with the EarthSearch Portal (4).
To demonstrate how the platform can be used to reveal the tremendous potential of EO data to a very large audience, well beyond their usual perimeter, 2 services and 4 business pilot projects will be presented:
S E R V I C E S :
EarthSelf - technological component enables any business or user to take advantage of highly scalable cloud environments for analysis, visualization and production of Earth observation value-added services. Which means that the service will allow users to create their own solutions using EarthSignature databases and combine them with their own data and other earth observation data. The website will offer a set of tools to facilitate the creation, testing, packaging, implementation and access to data as well as a multi-cloud platform.
EarthSearch - a portal for natural language queries on images. User will be able to express questions in natural language on images and get either a text response or an imagery response.
P I L O T S :
EarthPress - aims to deliver value-added products to editors and journalists allowing them to enrich the content of their publications and articles. Such contents tailored to specific user needs will be notably based on EO data (e.g., disaster extent maps, background imagery) and aggregated information from social media, websites, etc. on a given topic. It will provide added value data to the media industry allowing them to disseminate the success of Copernicus to the citizens;
EarthClimate - services to support climate monitoring activities: (A) air quality and carbon dioxide emissions monitoring and (B) urban heat islands monitoring. EarthClimate services will be combined with other Copernicus data and local data coming from sensors and monitoring programs;
EarthFoodSecurity - service is built on top of in-situ information of soil moisture conditions, and runs with Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) projections of climate change. Based on the pilot, a set of value-added services will be provided to users, it will include historical and current data in the area of interest, and a forecast report to predict future changes in the area of interest;;
EarthAgriculture - the pilot program will improve the performance and accuracy of existing Sen2-Agri processing chains by taking advantage of the services offered by SnapEarth. It will propose to agricultural users a set of value-added services to support agricultural monitoring activities, such as vegetation indicator maps and crop maps. Regular reports and statistics on user-defined areas of interest will also be an added value.