The H2020 project “Copernicus App Lab” provides an easy data access platform that brings together the scientific Earth observation (EO) community and mobile developers. At the end of the project, a proof-of-concept will provide data from the Copernicus Land, Marine Environment, and Atmosphere Monitoring Services as linked open data to promote the inclusion of EO data into value-added services and/or mobile applications.
To date, Copernicus services and data have not been officially released in formats or via tools popular among mobile developers, nor have they been offered as linked open data. Offering intuitive tools the community can use to link its information to Copernicus data will make Copernicus an increasingly essential node in the web of data, which means it will see more exposure and usage by the crowd without the need for additional investment.
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. This means that Copernicus contributes to the development of innovative applications and services by making the vast majority of its data, analyses, forecasts, and maps freely available and accessible in order to make our world safer, healthier, and economically stronger.
The Copernicus App Lab will thus revolutionise the way Copernicus data is made available to a growing user group and foster its inclusion in business and consumer apps, thereby introducing Copernicus to the core of European society.
The main intention of the Copernicus App Lab is to foster new business opportunities by providing EO data in a format that makes the data searchable and easily accessible to new potential downstream service providers.
The concept is based on the dissemination of data products in a loosely coupled manner based on a framework that facilitates distributed data access and processing. For this purpose, a remote data access protocol will be tailored to the purposes of Copernicus data and made available in an open-source format. It will then be possible to host multi-thematic (gridded), cloud-connected data products related to the Earth sciences in a distributed fashion either on premise or in the cloud. This will ensure that the distributed, complex nature of data (systems) will be hidden from end users, enabling them to request and consume data using the same unified APIs.
The Copernicus App Lab consists of three technical pillars:
- Provision of Copernicus linked open data via a cloud infrastructure
- Tools for semantically linking Copernicus data with other societal or business information
- Improved data access via a streaming data library
The Copernicus programme 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.
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 seeks to:
- Promote the uptake of Copernicus Services in the mobile developer community by offering a one-stop shop of intuitive tools to developers who wish to integrate Copernicus data into their value-added services
- Improve data utilisation by releasing linked open data based on Copernicus and its services, 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
Empowering the uptake of the Copernicus Services
Improving data utilisation
Opening up business opportunities
Providing simplified access and smarter data
All the tools available as open source
Engaging the user community
“Copernicus will deliver an unprecedented volume of free data, provide new operational services, and foster new business opportunities and job creation.” Elzbieta Bienkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
The Copernicus App Lab will enable the mobile developer community and other downstream service providers to do exactly that: take advantage of Copernicus data in creating new business!
- The Copernicus App Lab will foster the uptake of Copernicus within a user group that has not been prominently represented thus far: mobile developers. These developers will be empowered to come up with new downstream services, which will make Copernicus a part of the vital mobile economy.
- The Copernicus App Lab will enable mobile developers to benefit from the information and added value provided by the Copernicus Services without needing specific EO expertise. This will aid start-ups and SMEs in particular in becoming more competitive by integrating intelligence gained from satellite data into their service offerings in a cheaper and less time-consuming way.
- The tools provided by the Copernicus App Lab will empower the Copernicus Services to better serve their users without encroaching on the existing service architecture.
- The methodology of the work completed in this area will adopt the rapid and standardised workflows that have been defined by UoA to characterise the lifecycle of EO data in the LEO and MELODIES projects. These workflows will be revised in the Copernicus App Lab project according to the requirements of the Copernicus Services.
- The deliverables of the project will contribute to a harmonised system capable of cataloguing distributed (geo-spatial) data resources across a range of scientific communities.
All the members of the consortium have extensive experience in national and/or European and industrial projects in their respective areas of expertise, which they will contribute to the Copernicus App Lab by:
- Engaging mobile developers in the use of Copernicus Earth observation (EO) and other space data
- Facilitating access to EO data
- Making EO data available in the form of linked open data
- Providing access to cloud infrastructure for EO Services
AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
AZO has established a global network for innovation and entrepreneurship. It supports product innovation and company foundations in the field of commercial space applications along the entire value chain – from the idea all the way to market entry. AZO has extensive experience in organising innovation competitions such as the European Satellite Navigation Competition, the Copernicus Masters (Earth observation), the StartupWorld Awards (laser photonics and robotics), as well as the INNOspace Masters (New Space Economy), app developer camps and conferences, and manages ESA BIC Bavaria.
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UoA), Greece
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens was founded in 1837 and it is the oldest university in Greece. The Department of Informatics and Telecommunications (www.di.uoa.gr) has been active since 1986 and it is widely recognized as the top Computer Science department in Greece. For the years 2009-2011, the department has been ranked among the top-100 departments in Computer Science internationally by the Academic Ranking of World Universities founded and compiled by the Shanghai Jiaotong University. The Athens team participating in Copernicus App Lab is the Knowledge Representation, Reasoning and Analytics team.
Terradue Srl, Italy
Terradue Srl is addressing the Earth Sciences research & education sector, with core competencies aimed at engineering distributed systems & Cloud services, providing consultancy for international organisations, and developing partner programs for Terradue’s Open Source Software & Open Standards strategy. Terradue is a leading Cloud Services provider with current developments focusing on empowering researchers within seamless eScience infrastructures, for curating and delivering scientific information, and to create Cloud marketplaces for environmental data analytics and promoting a vision where scientific publications are fully reproducible, verifiable experiments and part of an interoperable ecosystem.
RAMANI B.V., The Netherlands
Ramani B.V. (RAMANI), after the Swahili word for ‘Map’, was founded as spin-off company of the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation of the University of Twente (ITC) with support from the Knowledge Park Twente. RAMANI has made significant contributions to advancement of public usage of EO-data by co-organising multiple international innovation competition events. RAMANI’s expertise as key-technology provider for some of Europe’s largest innovation competition for Earth monitoring data – the Copernicus Masters – and various App Developer Camps was funded under contract with ESA.
VITO is a leading European independent research and technology organisation in the areas of cleantech and sustainable development, elaborating solutions for the large societal challenges of today. VITO provides innovative and high-quality solutions, whereby large and small companies can gain a competitive advantage, and advises industry and governments on determining their policy for the future. VITO has 750 highly qualified employees who work on international projects all around the world. VITO’s headquarters are located in Mol, Belgium, and the company has a subsidiary in China. The total turnover of VITO amounted to about 140 million euros in 2014.