NEWSLETTER v.8 - July 2017
Dear reader,

BEYOND Center of Excellence for EO based management 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 the BEYOND newsletter highlights the Center’s activity during the last 6 months.This activity was greatly supported by hosting and successfully operating the Collaborative DataHub, the Greek Mirror Site, providing near real time access and ingestion of S-1, and S-2 images to operational processing chains. Special emphasis is put on the launch of a new and fully operational version of the FIRHUB service. The service has been extended so as to deliver in addition to the NRT fire detection and smoke dispersion products, a series of accurate and validated NRT Burnt Area Mapping products using a multitude of satellite missions which are acquired at the premises of NOA such as VIIRS, MODIS, FengYun-3, and also Sentinel-3. For the time being the service is provided on-demand across Europe, North Africa, Middle East, and Balkans for specific cases of fires and after the End User request. Moreover, the activity of the BEYOND Center in the framework of the Risk and Recovery pillar of the Copernicus EMS is outlined.
We hope you will enjoy reading this newsletter as much as we enjoyed writing it.
With Best Regards,
Scientific Responsible of the BEYOND Center
Research Director of NOA
National Delegate of H2020 SPACE Program Committee - EC DG ENTR, National Delegate of the Copernicus Integrated GS (IGS) Task Force, National Contact Point for Data Sharing within GEO Member Governments

BEYOND services updated!
BEYOND FireHub Application
The BEYOND FireHub Application is online and fully operational after the major upgrade that was applied during the 2016 fire period.

FireHUB is continuously fed with new satellite acquisitions every 5 minutes from the MSG SEVIRI (EUMETSAT) satellite. The system incorporates a fully automatic processing chain, integrating efficient algorithms for image processing and classification, and producing maps of active fires. Several enhancement queries are invoked to improve the quality of the initial satellite observations, towards detecting fires with enhanced reliability and estimating its evolution in time. The system dynamically integrates geo-information layers, such as the wind direction, the ground morphology characteristics, the elevation zones, and the fuel characteristics of the affected areas, to downscale the initial observation of MSG SEVIRI sensor, from 3.5km spatial resolution to 500 meter resolution. The system provides real time observations and status of active fires, as well as it offers capabilities for retrieving past fire events for re-analysis and study.

The new version of FireHub for fire monitoring offers improved operational characteristics namely: (a) fast Back-End and GUI response, (b) systematic integration of enhanced spatial resolution (middle resolution) satellite data acquired by BEYOND Collaborative Ground Segment (e.g. VIIRS, MODIS, NOAA, MetOP) every 2-3 hours in order to provide further evidence and enhance the initially (MSG-SEVIRI) detected active-fire hotspots.

From 2017 onward the
BEYOND FireHub Application is further enhanced with a real-time Burnt Scar Mapping product.. This new feature of the FireHub service is provided on-demand for specific cases of fires and authorised users (e.g. the Hellenic Fire Brigade Authority, Civil Protection Authorities, etc) and after a user request. Our technical algorithmic approach has the advantage to be sensor-agnostic, hence accommodate satellite data of different spatial, temporal and spectral resolutions and characteristics, without any implicit compromises in thematic and spatial accuracies. FireHub workflow is hence scalable and covers entire Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East and the North Africa. 

The algorithms used for automated Burnt Scar extraction, is applicable to both middle (VIIRS, MODIS, FengYun-3, Sentinel-3) and high-resolution satellite systems (Sentinel-2, Landsat-8). It is based on an implementation of Level Set Methods, to which further modifications and optimizations were applied to enhance the thematic accuracy, and minimize omission and commission error rates, as well as to adapt the proposed algorithm to the heterogeneous land cover regimes across Europe and neighboring regions.

More Info at
BEYOND website.
Emergency Management Service Risk & Recovery Activations (EMS)
"Enhancing Natural HAzard resilience iN South America" (ENHANS)
The  BEYOND Center of Excellence, as part of the European partnership “NOA - Geoapikonisis SA - Altamira SA - CIMA Foundation”, has just delivered the multiple natural hazards risk assessment for UNESCO in three cities: Arica in Chile, Tacna in Peru, and Maputo in Mozambique (EMSN037) in order to address needs of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. A series of risk & recovery maps were produced for these three locations, including hazard, exposure, vulnerability and risk concerning a range of hazards: earthquake, landslide, soil and coastal erosion, tsunami, and flood. The results for Arica and Tacna are intended to be used to support UNESCO's project "Enhancing Natural HAzard resilience iN South America" (ENHANS).

The project aims to decrease the vulnerability to natural hazards of selected countries in South America. The analyses for Maputo are intended to be used to support another UNESCO's project "School Safety". It aims to empower schools and their communities in the identification of hazard and risks they are the most exposed to, their vulnerabilities and their capacity to manage them.


For more information please click here and here.

BEYOND services linked to the Greek Sentinel Collaborative Ground Segment
GeoHub: A services portfolio for EO based monitoring of geohazards
Within BEYOND, we developed the GeoHub ecosystem of services, a focal point for the continuous monitoring of geohazards and assessing related risks. In GeoHub, we exploit the infrastructural assets owned by the National Observatory of Athens, such as the National Seismological Network, the NOANET GPS network, the ENIGMA magnetometer network, two drone units, etc., coupled with Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (PSI) methodologies for the estimation of ground deformation rates. Our focus is on mapping geohazard and damage zones and the seamless monitoring of critical sites for providing consistent information to the involved stakeholders, such as civil protection agencies, national or regional authorities, etc.

Driven by PSI and our modeling techniques, GeoHub provides diverse services, ranging from rapid earthquake co-seismic displacement estimation, post-earthquake damage assessment using drones, monitoring of volcanic unrest episodes and modeling of lava flow risk, estimation of diachronic ground velocities in the urban fabric, to mapping landslide susceptibility and soil erosion risk. Depending on the application, the services can be offered at local, prefecture and national scale.

GeoHub primarily relies on the processing of Sentinel-1 data. In this context, our geo-ICT team has developed automation procedures for some of the services referenced above, using the DHuS API of the Greek Sentinel Collaborative Ground Segment.

Moreover, the geo-ICT team of BEYOND in the framework of the ESA Contract No. 4000113775/15/F/MOS Disaster Risk Reduction using innovative data exploitation methods and space assets – DRR, which runs under the coordination of company e-GEOS, has implemented InSAR and PS velocity processing chains on the GEP Thematic Exploitation Platform and for a series of satellite missions such as Cosmo-SkyMed, TerraSar X, Radarsat, ERS, and Envisat.
On demand EO service request platform
One of the users of the Greek Sentinel Collaborative Ground Segment contacted us and requested assistance in creating a platform to allow other users to request specific, predefined EO services, for regions of interest.

The objectives of this effort was to (i) develop a portal that has low operational cost using as input free access Sentinel imagery and free and open source technologies for the development, (ii) facilitate end-to-end processes by developing automated tasks (e.g. selecting, filtering and downloading imagery) and (iii) provide a user-friendly interface and EO product analysis/interpretation tools to an end-user.

Our expert user developed a system that consists of two main subsystems: the Web server – Web application (Front-end), and the application server (Back-end). An end-user can now logon into this portal, define an area of interest (e.g. a specific parcel) and request one of the services available (e.g. monitor vegetation growth and crop, detect burnt area, detect snow and others).
BEYOND Exploitation
Launch of the Excelsior project
NOA is one of the key partners of the EXCELSIOR project " ERATOSTHENES: EXcellence Research Centre for Earth SurveiLlance and Space-Based MonItoring Of the EnviRonment.

The ‘EXCELSIOR’ TEAMING project is built on the existing ERATOSTHENES Research Centre capacities. The aim of the proposed TEAMING project is to further promote the existing ERATOSTHENES Research Centre (ERC), established within the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) into a sustainable, viable and autonomous Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Earth Surveillance and Space-Based Monitoring of the Environment, which will provide the highest quality of related services on the National, European and International levels.

The ‘EXCELSIOR’ Teaming project addresses a specific challenge defined by the work program – namely, the reduction of substantial disparities in the European Union by supporting research and innovation activities and systems in low performing countries. It also aims at establishing long-term and strategic partnerships between the Teaming partners, thus reducing internal research and innovation disparities within European Research and Innovation landscape.

For more information on the project please click here.
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