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Earth's most active volcanoes on satellite watch

 As hundreds flee lava and ash spewed from Mexico’s Colima volcano, its continuing eruption is being tracked not only by ground instruments but also from space. Starting last month, Colima is one of 22 active volcanoes worldwide being monitored by satellites.

The latest observations by Europe’s Sentinels and the US Terra and Landsat satellites are being processed automatically for the rapid delivery of key parameters to geohazards researchers.

“Within the geohazards arena, this kind of systematic service is really something new,” explains Fabrizio Pacini of Terradue, which operates the new service through ESA’s online, cloud-based Geohazards Exploitation Platform, or GEP.

“Researchers already use Earth observation data, of course, but usually on an on-demand basis from a single sensor. We make use of a range of sensors to cover multiple sites on a continuing basis.”

The service is based on automated processing chains developed by GEP research partners, running on the GEP itself, then made available through it.


[...] Read full article here.


The GEP is one of six ‘Thematic Exploitation Platforms’ (TEPs)' being developed by ESA in the frame of the Earth Observation ground segment evolution strategy. The TEPs aim at fostering the exploitation of EO data by providing an online environment for users to access information, ICT resources, and tools.

The TEPs are contributing to the creation of an European EO data ecosystem for research and business, one of the overarching objectives of ESA Earth Observation Envelope Programme.

TEPs at EO Open Science 2016

Coastal, Forestry, Geohazards, Hydrology and Urban TEPS presented updates on their activities at EO Open Science 2016.

If you weren't able to attend you can replay here, it's the platforms session C2 on Wednesday 14th at 14:00

Conference papers will be available soon on


GEP response to Central Italy Earthquake

On 24 August, an earthquake struck central Italy, claiming at least 290 lives and causing widespread damage. Satellite images are being used to help emergency aid organisations, while scientists have begun to analyse ground movement.

The Geohazards TEP is providing access to EO data collections and to processing results produced by services hosted on the platform. 

Following the request from INGV, the GEP is providing access to EO data from CEOS Contributors to authorised users. See first collections of ALOS-2 as well as Sentinel-1A and 1B data.

More datasets from Pleiades, Sentinel-2, Radarsat-2, TerraSAR-X and COSMO Skymed will follow soon, as well as results generated by GEP partners.

See on the GEP some of the measurements generated by the Community using the platform, including:

  • The interferogram created by INGV using Sentinel-1 acquisitions of 14 and 26 August. The product was generated using the DIAPASON chain of the French Space Agency, CNES. DIAPASON is one of the hosted processing chains of the GEP. 
  • Sentinel-1 T117 co-seismic interferogram (wrapped) of Amatrice earthquake (Italy), using Sentinel-1 acquisitions of 15 and 27 August. The product was generated by CNR-IREA using their own InSAR web tool, designed for exploitation on the Geohazards TEP and currently available as an initial prototype in ESA’s Grid Processing On Demand (G-POD) infrastructure.


Working Group Session on Data Sourcing for TEPs

A working group session took place on April 13, 2016 in ESRIN, Frascati and was attended by representatives of five European commercial data providers, representatives of the six TEPs consortia (some remotely connected) and ESA colleagues responsible for the TEP projects and data sourcing in general.

The workshop was organised by ESA to address potential technical solutions of data access in the TEPs, (i.e. data mirroring on TEP infrastructure, caching, remote access, linking to external catalogues, data ordering, interfacing to external cloud processing infrastructures etc.) and the related organizational and legal concepts.

The objective was to start a dialogue between TEP projects and commercial data providers on future data provisioning agreements.

The Executive Summary from the workshop can be accessed here.



Global Urban Footprint from UTEP

Scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the prime contractor for the Urban TEP have succeeded in using a newly developed method to map the world’s built spaces at an unprecedented spatial resolution, resulting in the ‘Global Urban Footprint’ (GUF), a global map of human settlements at a spatial resolution of 12 meters per grid cell (aggregated to 75m for public use).

In light of the potential development applications of GUF, DLR will soon release the data set to be used free of charge at full spatial resolution for any scientific use, and at 75m resolution for any non-profit use. Currently available by request from DLR, by the middle of 2016, the data set will also be accessible on the World Bank’s PUMA platform, as well as the European Space Agency’s Urban Thematic Exploitation Platform.

Full details at


Thanks Prague, you were great.

Thanks to all those who attended the LPS in Prague last week, listened to the TEP presentations, picked up a brochure or stopped by at our booth for a demonstration. We had a lot of interest in what the Geohazards platform is offering now (see and in the other TEPS under development.

If you missed out, the LPS proceedings will be published shortly by the organisers and you can keep an eye on our events list for where we will be appearing next.

TEPS at Living Planet Symposium

We have two sessions dedicated to the TEPS at the Living Planet next week, to catch up on all the progress and plans.

Both are on Day 1 (Monday) afternoon, and you can find the full LPS programme here

In addition, we will be exhibiting and doing demonstrations at the Applications and Platforms stand on Floor 2, so if you have a specific point of interest then please come along and ask.

Geohazards TEP@EGU 2016 wrap-up

 The EGU General Assembly 2016 was held in Vienna from 17 to 22 April with great success, with 4,863 oral presentations given, 10,320 posters, 947 PICO sessions and a total of 13,650 scientists from 109 countries taking part.

The Geohazards Exploitation Platform (GEP) featured in the interesting discussions of the Geoscience community, being subject of five presentations and a training session during the first three days.



On Monday, the new functions built into the GEP to support results publication ad sharing were presented to the GEO Supersites community.  All appreciated the clear contribution the GEP will make to enable Open Science for the Geoscience community, a key element of the GEO Supersite initiative.

New processing results of the GEP were also presented, including:

  • A preview of the new InSAR Browse Services developed by German Aerospace Center (DLR) in the context of their GEP pilot (more information on this service will follow on the GEP blog).
  • A continental scale map showing 12-days Interferometric Coherence of almost all of Europe, processed by scientists of CNR-IREA.
  • Sharing of results with an example from the 2015 earthquake in Chile (see yourself on GEP)

On Tuesday, examples of the SBAS processing chain and time series analysis were shown, with availability of per-pixel time series over Campi Flegrei, the Gargano area and Mount Etna.  The second presentation focused on the integration of the SBAS algorithm into processing services through the GEP, and described how the GEP makes it possible to realize a wide spectrum of service modes, like an on-demand mode and a surveillance mode systematically updated at each new acquisition.

On Wednesday, the GEP “Optical Image Correlation” pilot project was presented.  The project is led by University of Strasbourg and the team is implementing a processing chain on the GEP cloud-based (Hadoop, MapReduce) environment, which will enable analysis of surface displacements at local to regional scale (10-1000 km2), targeting in particular co-seismic displacement and slow-moving landslides. 

A training course for the GEP SBAS-DInSAR web tool was held. The course provided a short overview on the DInSAR processing methods allowing retrieving mean surface deformation maps and displacement time series, with a specific focus on the SBAS-DInSAR technique. Secondly, the GEP and G-POD environments were introduced and the P-SBAS web tool presented. Finally, the advanced features as well as some main results achieved via the web tool were shown.

In all of these presentations, we saw geoscience research and IT coming together in the GEP as geoscientists manage to introduce new concepts coming from the evolving IT world into their algorithms, leading to reduced execution times and new processing scales that allow for previously unfeasible analyses.  This development is being warmly received.  For instance, when the current scenario of growing satellite data was discussed at the “Integrated Research Infrastructures and Services in Geosciences” session in presence of  representatives from the European Plate Observing System (EPOS), the TEP model was presented as an answer to manage the concerned challenges.  The general consensus among the EGU audience was that we are living interesting times, in which the needs of the research infrastructures are shaping the evolution of the ICT and  governance is being negotiated by user communities in view of solutions that are sustainable in the long term.

New S1 InSAR processing service

On-Demand Sentinel-1 InSAR processing service

The Sentinel-1 mission flying under Europe’s Copernicus Programme offers a powerful system for monitoring surface displacement through the Interferometric SAR (InSAR) technique.  It acquires Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data on a global scale, and operates under an open and free data access policy.

The satellite uses an Interferometric Wide Swath (IWS) mode to obtain the raw digital radar data about the Earth’s surface.  Accurate and specific processing algorithms are required in order to turn this raw data into visual information products, and this layer of expertise can discourage users who are not familiar with InSAR techniques from using the data.

To promote wider use of Sentinel-1’s SAR data, increase research on interferometric techniques and make it easier for people to produce accurate Sentinel-1 InSAR measurements, CNR-IREA has developed a web tool which, through a user-friendly interface, enables users to generate interferograms in an automated and unsupervised way (see Figure 1). With this service, users can select SAR images from the Sentinel data repository, set a few processing parameters, and then automatically process imagery and retrieve the interferogram which shows the changes in the surface area detected by the radar.


CNR-IREA developed its InSAR web tool in the context of the Geohazards Thematic Exploitation Platform (Geohazards TEP). Designed for exploitation on the Geohazards TEP, the web tool has been available to users from the geohazards community since April, as an initial prototype in ESA’s Grid Processing On Demand (G-POD) infrastructure. The prototype will evolve into a pre-operational service on the Geohazards TEP by early 2017.

A short course on how to use CNR-IREA’s InSAR web tool on the Geohazards TEP will be given at the next EGU General Assembly (see here for details:

For more information please contact and

Caption for Figure:

The map (interferogram) shown in the image represents the Earth’s surface displacement induced by the Mw 8.3 Illapel (Chile) earthquake of 19 September 2015. The interferogram has been generated by exploiting two Sentinel-1 images acquired before and after the event, respectively. Each colour cycle corresponds to a displacement of about 2.8 cm.

Geohazards TEP @ EGU 2016

Are you interested in geohazards science and applications and going to EGU 2016? Checkout the following presentations to learn more about the impact that the Geohazards Thematic Exploitation Platform will have on the life of geoscientists starting this year!

 Monday, 18 April

  • 08:45–09:00 EGU2016-16545 The contribution of the Geohazards Exploitation Platform for the GEO Supersites community by Michele Manunta, Hervé Caumont, Oscar Mora, Francesco Casu, Ivana Zinno, Claudio De Luca, Susi Pepe, Antonio Pepe, Fabrice Brito, Laia Romero, Andre Stumpf, Jean-Philippe Malet, Ramon Brcic, Fernando Rodriguez Gonzalez, Massimo Musacchio, Fabrizia Buongiorno, and Pierre Briole

Tuesday, 19 April

  • 14:00–14:15 EGU2016-15136 Sentinel-1 DInSAR processing chain within Geohazard Exploitation Platform by Ivana Zinno, Manuela Bonano, Sabatino Buonanno, Francesco Casu, Claudio De Luca, Adele Fusco, Riccardo Lanari, Michele Manunta, Mariarosaria Manzo, Chandrakanta Ojha, and Antonio Pepe
  • 14:30–14:45 EGU2016-14756 Sentinel-1 automatic processing chain for volcanic and seismic areas monitoring within the Geohazards Exploitation Platform (GEP) by Claudio De Luca, Ivana Zinno, Michele Manunta, Riccardo Lanari, and Francesco Casu

Wednesday, 20 April

  • 12:15 – 15:00 SC57, Training on the SBAS-DInSAR web tool for Earth surface deformation analysis through the ESA Geohazard Exploitation Platform, Francesco Casu, Michele Manunta, Claudio De Luca, Ivana Zinno, Riccardo Lanari
  • 14:45 – 15:00 EGU2016-14672, The Geohazards Exploitation Platform, Francesco Casu, Philippe Bally, Hervé Caumont, Salvatore Pinto and Henri Laur
  • 16:30–16:45 EGU2016-12279 The Pilot Project 'Optical Image Correlation' of the ESA Geohazards Thematic Exploitation Platform (GTEP) by André Stumpf and Jean-Philippe Malet
Urban TEP aims to promote new opportunities to enable the creation and safeguarding of liveable cities.