How can we measure the wellbeing of our planet? Scientists and researchers in Germany are now offered a new platform for analysing Earth observation satellite data. The new EO-Lab has been commissioned by the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.
New Earth Observation Data Platform
The new platform provides innovative cloud technology and Artificial Intelligence for the analysis of a large number of Earth observation missions. Thanks to comprehensive user support, researchers from all disciplines can quickly and purposefully implement their projects on the environment and geoinformation.
The contract for building and operating the platform has been granted to CloudFerro, a European cloud provider for the space sector and the operator of the CODE-DE platform. The EO-Lab cloud is part of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy of the German Federal Government. It grants easy and efficient access to Earth observation missions like Copernicus, TerraSAR-X and EnMAP. A powerful virtual high-performance working environment for processing this data, as well as extensive information and training components are available.
In particular, EO-Lab provides scientists and developers from German research institutions and enterprises with scalable computing power including latest processing technology (GPU’s) and broadband data connectivity, together with tools to process data with AI-methods. Due to its high flexibility, EO-Lab guarantees the rapid development of scientific analysis methods and their application to mass data and thus enables world class data science. The platform is certified by BSI and is hosted in a data centre in Frankfurt.
Scientific and Commercial Research
Researchers from both scientific and commercial entities will be able to design, develop and demonstrate new methods for analysing land surface changes, water dynamics and atmospheric processes on EO-Lab and to present their results there to other scientists and the general public. The synergies between EO-Lab and CODE-DE, an Earth observation platform for German government agencies, both operated by CloudFerro, give researchers at EO-Lab the opportunity to easily and efficiently transfer scientific results to public use. A close cooperation between research institutions and public administration is promoted through the synergetic use of both platforms.
“The EO-Lab Cloud provides the computational power for innovative EO processing, as well as platform and data services. It creates a unique development environment particularly for AI applications for scientific analysis. Thus, it fosters the extraction of the information from data stored in different Earth observation programmes at national and international level, such as TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X, RapidEye, PlanetScope, EnMAP and Copernicus”, says Dr. Peter Wagner, project manager at German Space Agency DLR.
Addition to CreoDIAS and WEkEO
This is not the first project for the German government that has been entrusted to CloudFerro. In 2019, the European company was selected as a new cloud provider and operator for the CODE-DE platform. In addition, CloudFerro has vast experience in providing and operating scientific cloud platforms on a European scale, such as CREODIAS for the European Space Agency, Climate Data Store for ECMWF, and WEkEO for EUMETSAT. The EO-Lab project is another joint success of CloudFerro and Urbetho CF, CloudFerro’s partner in Germany, providing business and Geo-IT support for EO Cloud operators and users.
“EO-Lab is another project CloudFerro is developing and implementing for German entities, next to the CODE-DE platform that we have been successfully operating for the German Space Agency at DLR – one of the largest national space agencies in Europe. We believe the EO-Lab cloud service will be highly beneficial to the German scientific and research community as it facilitates and accelerates the processing of large and fast growing volumes of Earth observation data, opening excellent new possibilities for researchers”, says Maciej Krzyżanowski, the CEO of CloudFerro.
“The fact that the German government entrusted us with a contract for another national platform for the German market is proof of our constant commitment to the quality of service”, adds the CEO of CloudFerro.
“We are excited to be part of the EO-Lab team and committed to contribute to the success of this innovative endeavour with our in-depth knowledge on geo-services and EO cloud computing and with our long year experience in the evolution of EO platforms and community building. We are looking forward to supporting EO-Lab users in all phases of platform usage, starting with a smooth onboarding process, providing EO Cloud support during the project execution and finally assisting in the presentation and sharing of the project’s results with the EO-Lab and CODE-DE community”, says Dr. Ursula C. Benz, Managing Director at Urbetho CF, and responsible for Business Development and Customer Relations for CloudFerro in the DACH region.
Demanding German Public Institutions
German public institutions are especially demanding in terms of high security requirements imposed on cloud providers. CloudFerro has been certified according to ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 norms, and in addition, the Frankfurt Cloud of CloudFerro, where CODE-DE and EO-Lab are hosted, has been certified with German BSI 200-1 (BSI-IGZ-0447-2021) and BSI C5 attestation (Cloud Computing Compliance Criteria Catalogue). That means the company complies with strict requirements in terms of IT infrastructure, tools, databases, equipment, technical security and many others. EO-Lab will be collocated in the same environment and in the same cloud infrastructure as CODE-DE with extended physical resources, and will include several additional applications. It will also be certified accordingly to ensure the highest level of data security and service quality in every respect.