About the Copernicus App Lab

The Copernicus App Lab provides an easy data access platform that brings together the scientific Earth observation (EO) community and mobile developers, which is crucial to the success of EO business development. A proof-of-concept will provide data from the Copernicus Land, Marine Environment, and Atmosphere Monitoring Services in as linked open data to promote the inclusion of EO data in mobile applications.

The European Earth observation programme Copernicus offers myriad forms of data that enable citizens, businesses, public authorities, policy makers, scientists, and entrepreneurs to gain insights into our planet on a free, open, and comprehensive basis. By making the vast majority of its data, analyses, forecasts, and maps freely available and accessible, Copernicus contributes to the development of innovative applications and services that seek to make our world safer, healthier, and economically stronger. However, the potential (in both societal and economic terms) of these huge amounts of data can only be fully exploited if using them is made as simple as possible. Here, the straightforward data access every downstream service developer requires must also be combined with in-depth knowledge of EO data processing. The Copernicus App Lab proposal therefore aims to address these specific challenges by bridging the digital divide between the established, science-driven Earth observation community and the young, innovative, entrepreneurial world of mobile development.

Handling the increasing volume of EO data generated is one of the main challenges the community faces, and cloud infrastructure is seen as an efficient potential solution. The latest developments in information and communication technology (ICT) facilitate big data management and service creation and, most importantly, have started to shape the expectations of companies and institutes regarding new service development and support for EO data exploitation. Particular effort will be dedicated to assessing solutions for porting EO processing algorithms to cloud infrastructures. We will focus on shifting processing to where the data is and optimising the connectivity services of data centres with new discovery and processing methods. New data exploitation capabilities made possible by cloud technologies will also facilitate the creation of enablers that will help users access and process data in the cloud from their facilities. New cloud technologies also provide virtualised work environments and the necessary interfaces for leveraging the computing resources of cloud providers.

At present, the Copernicus Services and data are not officially offered through formats and tools that are well known among mobile developers, nor is corresponding linked open data available. The Copernicus App Lab will thus revolutionise the way Copernicus data is provided to a growing user group and foster its uptake in business and consumer apps. This will enable Copernicus to reach the core of European society.

The overall objective of the Copernicus App Lab is to demonstrate a user-driven evolution in services that can be integrated seamlessly into the existing service architecture. More specifically, the Copernicus App Lab proposal aims to:

  • Empower the uptake of the Copernicus Services in the mobile developer community by offering a one-stop shop to developers who wish to integrate Copernicus data into their value-added services using familiar tools and formats.
  • Improve data utilisation by releasing value-added products based on Copernicus data and services in the form of linked open data, which will ultimately lead to more and better mobile Copernicus apps.
  • Facilitate business opportunities along the value chain in EO data and services by providing tools for publishing, interlinking, querying, and visualising EO data.
  • Engage the user community by focusing in particular on dissemination activities and collecting user feedback during a virtual beta testing phase, as well as in direct interactions with mobile developers during an ESA Space App Camp.

The best way to create tools that meet users’ needs is to involve them in the development process. Once a beta version is available, the Copernicus App Lab will be opened for a virtual beta testing phase.

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