mardi 11 janvier 2011

EO Tools - Part 1, the idea

EO Tools (stands for Earth Observation Tools) is a web application to find Earth Observation Services (using Satellite Imagery) Opportunities along a scenario line.

An EO Service is a Commercial or non Commercial service, provided by an Entity, based on a set of raw observations that are being collected, processed and enhanced to produce a product of interest for an end user.
In this field customers are generally Governmental or International organisations such as FAO, Militaries, Firefighters, etc... Examples of applications/products can be a disaster assessment map (fire, earth quake, flood), a set of positions of suspicious boats (over fishing, piracy, smuggling). You can find more on this type of services with the GMES (European Initiative) website.

Let's illustrate the EO Tools concept with an example. Say you are a Maritime Surveillance Agency (how does that sound?), and you want to know what's the traffic at sea (possibly using Satellite Imagery). The truth is that it is a pretty complex problem to solve/simulate:
- Satellites are moving sensors
- EO Services are fairly new
- Their performances are complex to evaluate.

These days, to get your answer, you would have to look through your known directory of EO Services providers and pretty much ring all of them to find out what possible to do for the area and the time period requested. Pain in the neck, especially if you are in a hurry!

Enters EO Tools.
I like to define EO Tools as the eDreams (flight search engine and online booking) of Earth Observation Services.

With EO Tools you create a project and specify your objects of interest. In our example (Maritime Surveillance Agency) we are talking about boats. Give your boats a trajectory over time or a general area of navigation. Click on SEARCH, specify what features you are interested in measuring, eg Speed, Position, etc... and a few seconds later, the tool returns a list of all services available along your scenario time line, with expected performances, products generated, etc... No need to know all the existing providers and no need to ring all of them one by one!

Check out the Eotools website to get an idea.

That's it for today. I will develop on the technology used in the next posts.

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