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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.

Polar TEP provides polar researchers with access to computing resources, data and software tools for polar research.