NEWSLETTER v.9 - February 2018
Dear reader,
The BEYOND Center of Excellence for EO-based monitoring of natural disasters has succeeded in establishing useful services and deriving value-added information relating to the monitoring of catastrophic events and the support of decision-making processes, in several Emergency Response and Emergency Support situations across Europe.
The current issue of 
BEYOND newsletter highlights the Center’s activity during the last 6 months. We hope you will enjoy reading this newsletter as much as we enjoyed writing it.

With Best Regards,
Research Director of NOA
Scientific Responsible for the BEYOND Center

Forest Fires detected by FIREHUB System
in Real Time

Ιn the summer of 2017 and during the fire-fighting period (1/5/2017 - 31/10/2017), the EO Centre of Excellence BEYOND for the monitoring of Natural Disasters which is hosted by the Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS) of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), continued to play its societal role by deriving, supporting and distributing on a daily basis maps depicting the extent and the level of physical damages caused from every fire incident occurring over Greece.
The rapid mapping service of burned areas is based on satellite images of medium resolution which are collected on a 24/7 basis at the satellite stations owned and operated by the Centre (e.g. MODIS, NPP-VIIRS, NOAA/AVHRR, FY), as well as based on high-resolution Sentinel II data. The latter are being collected in near real time at the Hellenic National Sentinel Data Mirror Site, under the collaboration agreement signed between NOA and the European Space Agency (ESA).
This information was delivered in real-time to the Fire Brigades Authority of Greece, and also the Local Authorities, that undertake the challenging task to immediately react and address the crisis as well as the landscape recovery after the disaster for compensation and mitigation purposes. In total, the FireHub Real-Time fire-detection system has detected 157 forest fires, with an extent ranging from 6 to 29,530 acres of forest land. The most important events took place in Kithira Island, in the Prefectures of Attica and Peloponnese.

BEYOND services updated!

FloodHub: Analysis of the flood in western Attica on 15/11/2017 using satellite remote sensing

On 15 November 2017, there was a flood after heavy rainfall in western Attica, mainly affecting the areas of Mandra and Nea Peramos. The tragic account is that 24 people have died, and a lot of infrastructure and assets have been destroyed completely or partially.
The team of the FloodHub service of BEYOND was activated immediately after the incident and analysed it, both by using satellite remote sensing and photo interpretation, and by autopsies in the area (21-23/11/2017), for data collection and more detailed evaluation, including tracking the uncovered and covered parts of the watercourses but also their original natural flow, as well as the identification of critical points (66), the examination of the adequacy of the cross section of the watercourses and of the technical works, the shooting of photographs (287), and the formulation of relevant proposals on rehabilitation and prevention.
Among other things, FloodHub / BEYOND created an interactive web application and produced detailed maps depicting the updated hydrological network as it is today, after the human interventions (using information derived from the autopsies, the historical satellite images of Google Earth Pro 2002-2017, the historical aerophotos 1945-2007, the report of the Inspectors of Pubic Administration, and the HYDROSCOPE project), the mapping of the flood extent using satellite remote sensing (processing of WorldView-4 very high resolution image 0.31 m of 21/11/2017, photointerpretation, use of information derived from the autopsies, and additional information which was published), the simulation of the maximum flood extent by (using the HEC-RAS software (version 5.0.1, the EU-DEM of 25 m resolution, the analysis of the data of the meteorological radar XPOL of the Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development of the National Observatory of Athens, the Corine Land Cover 2012, the urban expansion derived from the aerophotos and the Worldview-4 image, and the diachronically burnt areas derived from the BEYOND FireHub), as well as some of the critical factors which contributed to the immense destruction, such as arbitrary human interventions within the beds of the watercourses, inadequacy of the existing technical works (either due to construction or due to non-cleaning / maintenance) or in some areas lack of flood protection and road drainage measures, and partly landscape changes on the one hand due to some relatively small burned areas upstream, but mainly due to the urban expansions where it obstructs the flow of the watercourses.

GeoHub: Sentinel-based automatic interferogram production

GeoHub of BEYOND has developed a trial service that is triggered when a new, large, earthquake strikes anywhere in the world. The fully automatic application considers the epicenter and magnitude of the event, it searches and downloads the appropriate Sentinel-1 data from the Copernicus Sentinels Hubs, and processes them to produce pre-seismic, co-seismic and post-seismic differential interferograms. The service notifies the registered users when the first co-seismic interferogram becomes available, providing ground displacement maps. This timely information delivers to authorities a rapid assessment of the impact of the earthquake on the assets on the ground.
This image here contains a first interferogram that was produced by the BEYOND GeoHub application, following the 7.3 Mw earthquake which occurred near the border of Iran and Iraq on 12/11/2017. In this event at least 452 people were killed and thousands injured, while the earthquake was felt as far away as Turkey and Pakistan.
We foresee that in a few weeks this application will become operational.

Emergency Management Service Risk & Recovery Activations

Forest Fire Risk Assessment in Croatia

The BEYOND group has been actively involved together with partners Geoapikonisis SA, Altamira SA, and CIMA Foundation in the EMSN-041 activation launched in the framework of the EMS Risk & Recovery Activity of the Copernicus Work program.
The BEYOND Center of Excellence team contributed with its know-how and expertise to the service request for generating Forest Fire Risk Assessment and Mitigation products covering a set of 27 focus areas located in Croatian coastal areas and on the islands.
The key user of the map series is the National Protection and Rescue Directorate on behalf of the Croatian Crisis Management Association (CCMA).
You can find more information here.

Detailed Flood Delineation in Hildesheim, Germany

The BEYOND group has been actively involved together with partners Geoapikonisis SA, Altamira SA, and CIMA Foundation in the EMSN-046 activation launched in the framework of the EMS Risk & Recovery Activity of the Copernicus Work program. The BEYOND Center of Excellence team contributed with its know-how and expertise to the service request of Detailed flood delineation in Hildesheim (Germany), referring to the flood caused by heavy rains during the period 24-26 of July 2017. The area of interest includes the rivers Nette, Lamne, and Innerste. The generated products provided the observed and maximum flood extent in the area of interest. The key user of the map series is the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) on behalf of ‘Arbeitskreis forstlicher Fernerkundler der Lander’.
You can find more information here.

International Hub News

NOA & GRNET operate the Copernicus International Hub, Node 2

Since October 18, 2017, the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) and the Greek Research & Technology Network (GRNET) operate for the European Space Agency (ESA), in collaboration with Serco and GAEL Systems, the second node of the Copernicus International Data Hub. The International Access Hub provides a dedicated access to a Rolling Archive of Sentinels satellite products. Access to this hub is provided through and it is restricted to the international partners (NASA, USGS, GA, NOAA) having established agreements with the European Commission.
On the 15th of November 2017, ESA representatives visited the Operations Center in Athens, Greece, in an opportunity to discuss the status of the service and its evolution in the near future. Since mid-October 2017, more than 355 TiB of Sentinel data and 470,000 products have been downloaded by the users of the International Hub.

BEYOND Exploitation
BEYOND Team @ EOPEN Kick Off Meeting 
7-8/11/2017, Frascati, Italy

The Serco Italy space team in Frascati hosted a 2-day International project kick-off workshop on the 6th and 7th November 2017, to launch EOPEN, the new EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation project led by Serco. The aim of EOPEN is to research and innovate how to make commercial service that is faster, more effective and efficient to how that data is processed and made available to a significantly increased range of those non-traditional users. The EOPEN project team includes partners from Germany, Greece, Finland, Belgium, Italy and South Korea.

BEYOND Team @ EXCELSIOR's  Stakeholder Meeting
23/11/2017, Nicosia, Cyprus


EXCELSIOR organized successfully its first Stakeholder Meeting entitled “Space technologies and Earth observation’s benefits for Cyprus and Eastern Mediterranean” in Nicosia on November 23rd, 2017. More than 100 National Stakeholders attended the event which was under the auspices of the Honorable Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Mr. Marios Demetriades.
The objective of the meeting was to inform National Stakeholders from the Private and Public sector, the Industry and the Academia regarding the benefits arising from the collaboration with EXCELSIOR and its impact in Cyprus and the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean. It also aimed at fostering partnerships and collaborations as well as common actions between the National Stakeholders and the ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence.
Please find more information here.

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