The European Space Agency (ESA) Living Planet Symposium 2016 was held in Prague, Czech Republic from 9-13 May 2016; with around 3000 participants it has been the largest event dedicated to Earth Observation ever organised in Europe.
The symposium takes the name from the Living Planet Programme, an ESA multiannual programme which aims to address the continuing need to further our understanding of the Earth System and the impact that human activity is having on it. Nowadays ESA provides a wealth of valuable data about Earth through the Earth Explorer missions (which are research missions designed to address key scientific challenges identified by the science community while demonstrating breakthrough technology in observing techniques), the Earth Watch element (which includes the well-established meteorological missions with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) and the Copernicus Sentinel missions (which are part of the Copernicus Space Component, collecting robust long-term datasets). These latter missions comprises six different satellites (named, in numerical order, from Sentinel-1 to Sentinel-6, and each one constituted by a pair named A and B) which are delivering 6 TB per day in 2016 with only 5 satellites, therefore with an increasing volume foreseen in the upcoming years.
The exploitation of the big amount of data coming from space assets was one of the topics of the presentation done by Sergio Albani (SatCen), BigDataEurope “Secure Societies” domain leader. The work entitled “Integrating remote and social sensing data for a scenario on secure societies in a big data platform” illustrated the pilot development within the ”Secure Societies” Societal Challenge. The pilot aims at validating the BigDataEurope platform by integrating data coming from remote sensing (e.g. Sentinel-1) and social sensing (e.g. Twitter and Reuters), also providing tools for satellite data analysis in order to add value to the current data exploitation practices. This is particularly key in the Space and Security domain, where useful information can be derived not only from satellite data but also from data coming from a number of different sources. The pilot under development by SatCen, University of Athens (UoA) and “NCSR” Demokritos covers all the issues related to Big Data, namely Volume (many large satellite images), Variety (heterogeneous data such as satellite images and texts), Velocity (fast-paced social media and news agencies stream), Veracity (cross-verification of the sources) and Value (provision of useful information).
The pilot architecture has been already defined (for details, see ) and a first demo of the pilot will be available in autumn 2016. The pilot deployment is now focusing on the optimization of the parallelization of the data management chain for satellite image processing and text analysis, the ingestion of data other than from Sentinel 1 (e.g. Sentinel 2 satellite images) and the implementation of a keyword-search functionality enabling users to filter the detected events according to topics of interest (in addition to the current filtering possibilities which rely only on space and time constraints).
 S. Albani, M. Lazzarini, M. Koubarakis, E. K. Taniskidou, G. Papadakis, V. Karkaletsis, G. Giannakopoulos, “A pilot for Big Data exploitation in the Space and Security domain”, proceedings of 2nd Big Data from Space Conference, 15-17 March, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (2016).