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RUS: a new expert service for Sentinel users

With more than 450 terabytes of data acquired monthly, the Copernicus Satellites provide essential and free information to monitor our environment. However, with a download speed of 10Mps (average connection speed of the EU), more than 11 years would be needed to download such month of observations (not to mention the computing power needed for processing). In addition there are “knowledge barriers” which prevent adoption of such data by the users.

With the purpose to contribute overcoming these problems, the RUS (Research and user Support for Sentinel Core Products) project (funded by EC and managed by ESA) was opened to operations in October 2017. The service, offered at no cost, is run within a scalable cloud environment which allows to remotely store and process the data by bringing closer data and associated processing. Integral part of the solution is the exploitation and adaptation to the platform of Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS). In addition, technical and scientific support (eg training sessions) is provided to simplify the exploitation of Copernicus data. Trainings are carried out exploiting the FOSS installed on the VMs offered by the service. Face to face events are organized to meet the requirements of small groups of users which receive specific training on EO theory and step by step application of the theory in practical case-studies. Large Webinars organized every month provide detailed tutorials to exploit Sentinel data for application-oriented purposes. An e-learning platform will complement the practical part shown in the webinars, with technical background presented in an interactive way.

The service supports with ICT and expertise three different categories of users ranging from basic users in need for downloading support, R&D users in need for prototyping support and proficient users, in need for processing support. The uniqueness and innovative content of this service, relays in making the data more accessible to the users (alike other similar services) at no cost, together with providing technical and scientific support to the users, helping hence their activities. This contribution aims to raise the interest of potential users of the service, which facilitates the development of new science and prototyping of new applications based on Copernicus data. Our contribution to the 2nd International Electronic Conference on Remote Sensing (ECRS-2) is planned to be a Webinar during which we will demonstrate use of the RUS environment (and associated Open Source Toolboxes) for processing Copernicus data.

E xamples of processing results obtained by exploiting the service within training sessions account for: retrieval of the deformation fields associated to the Amatrice earthquake (August 2016), ship detection in the gulf of Trieste, monitoring of agricultural fields in California (November 2016-November 2017), mapping the Malawi flood (January 2015), the differential interferogram of the recent M7.3 Iran-Iraq earthquake (November 2017) and burned area mapping in Portugal.

Keywords: Copernicus, Platform, Cloud, Training, Applications, Webinar