October 2018
Dear reader,
The BEYOND Center of Excellence for EO-based monitoring of natural disasters has successfully established useful services and derived 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.

Visit our updated website to see our web services, projects, news & events!

With Best Regards,
Research Director of NOA
Scientific Responsible for the BEYOND Center
Forest Fires detected by FIREHUB System in Real Time

In the summer of 2018 and during the fire season (1/5/2018 - 30/09/2018), 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.
Diachronic mapping service of burned areas is based on satellite images of low and medium resolution which are collected on a 24/7 basis at the satellite stations owned and operated by the Centre (e.g. MSG-SEVIRI, MODIS, NPP-VIIRS, NOAA/AVHRR,FY) as well as on high-resolution Sentinel 2 data.
This information was delivered in real-time to the Fire Brigades Authority of Greece, but also the Local Authorities. The authorities 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  41 forest fires, with an extent ranging from 50 to 12,500 acres of forest land. The most important event took place in Mati Area (East Attica), in a fire that started on July 23 at 4:49 pm (local time) in the afternoon and resulted in the loss of human lives and in the destruction of 12,600 acres of burned land.
The  diachronic mapping service of burned areas will also be based on satellite images of high resolution, which 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), and the extent of the detected fires will be ranging from 6 acres of forest land and above.
Also, within the framework of the offer of the
BEYOND Excellence Center for Natural Disasters of the IAASARS the Fire Brigades Authority was provided with the online service FIREHUB-Model that has the possibility to use an interactive model of the fire scatter simulation, by choosing the fire point and start time on the map. The scatter model available has the ability to exploit the following levels of information: (a) high spatial and temporal analysis meteorological data for the area of application, (b) fuel matter data based on a vector level information of land of very high spatial and thematic analysis resulting from the updating of the CORINE Land Cover (2000) with the Land Use Map of the Directorate General for the Development and Protection of Forests and Natural Resources Environment and (c) the morphological characteristics of the field of the sub-area under consideration. 

BEYOND produced a series of maps of the fire who took place in Mati in order to depict the burnt areas using remote sensing and photo interpretation.

BEYOND services
National Observatory of Athens undertakes, in cooperation with other European Bodies the operation of the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) 

BEYOND/NOA is proud to be part of this high visibility European initiative.
In September 2018 and for the first time after 20 years, the EFFIS products responsibility has been transferred from JRC to an external consortium, comprising of Earth Observation industry e-GEOS, the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), the German Aerospace Agency (DLR) and Sertit SME. The start of this new era was marked in the EFFIS Kick-off Meeting that took place at JRC ISPRA on the 21st of September 2018, during which it was agreed that the new EFFIS operations will commence in mid-November 2018.
BEYOND Center of Excellence of NOA will be responsible in EFFIS for delivering a series of rapid damage assessment products covering entire Europe, North Africa and Middle East on a 24/7/365 basis. BEYOND will process data from its Satellite Antenna Ground Station installed in Penteli, Athens, Greece, and complemented by the Ground Station of the University of Dundee for covering this huge Area of Interest. The product portfolio includes active fire detections using medium resolution satellite sensor.
Read the full Press Release here.

Detailed burnt scar mapping in Mati following the fire on 23/07/2018 using remote sensing

The tragic account of the fire in eastern Attica, mostly affecting Mati, on 23 July 2018 is 99 dead people, and a lot of infrastructure and assets destroyed completely or partially. The FireHub service of BEYOND detected the fire immediately (at 17:05 local time) and was publishing updates of the fire extent every 5 minutes with 500 m spatial resolution. The following days BEYOND produced a series of maps in order to depict the burnt areas using remote sensing and photo interpretation: the first estimation on 25/07 was based on Sentinel-1A image, the second updated estimation on 26/07 used a combination of LANDSAT-7 ETM, SENTINEL-3Α and SENTINEL-2 images, and the third detailed estimation on 30/07 was based on a very high resolution WORLDVIEW-3 image (30 cm). The burnt areas extent was estimated at 1260 ha. Furthermore a detailed damage assessment map was published on 02/08 using Drones / UAV systems of ultra-high resolution (3,5 cm) in cooperation with AEROSURVEY, covering an area of 432 hectares in the urban area of Mati.

FloodHub: Flood extent mapping in Mandra and Magoula on 26/06/2018 using remote sensing

On 26 June 2018 there was a flood following heavy rainfall in western Attica, mainly affecting the areas of Mandra and Magoula. The team of the FloodHub service of BEYOND was activated immediately after the event and mapped the flood extent in Mandra and Magoula, both by using remote sensing and photo interpretation, and by crowdsourcing and autopsies in the affected area. The aerial mapping of the site was carried out on 29/06/2018 in cooperation with AEROSURVEY using a Pipistrel Surveyor aircraft and a Nikon D800 E full frame camera. The aerial photographs produced are of very high resolution 8 cm and cover an area of 1629 hectares. Furthermore, crowdsourced audiovisual material (photos and videos) was collected and analysed, and field visits were conducted in the wider area (26-29/06/2018) for extra data collection and more detailed valuation. The flood extent of 26/06/2018 was estimated at 534 ha and the map was published on BEYOND's FloodHub interactive web application, which also includes the analysis of the fatal flood on 15/11/2017.

Distribution of the Fire Smoke Dispresion on 23/7/2018, Mati, Attica Perfecture

The Firehub Smoke Dispersion Service described in real time the advection of biomass smoke from the deadly fires of 23 July 2018. Forecasting of fire smoke dispersion is provided through a synergistic remote sensing / modeling technique. Detailed ignition, duration and locations of the fire spots are obtained online from the Fire Monitoring Service of the National Observatory of Athens. This information is provided every five (5) minutes from the MSG SEVIRI instrument and is used as a triggering input to the modeling applications. Smoke dispersion is computed with the Lagrangian dispersion model FLEXPART driven by WRF-ARW meteorological output at a resolution of 4×4 km over Greece. The strong west winds during this period favored the transport of smoke almost 300 Km eastwards over the Aegean Sea.   

Kilauea volcano eruption, 4/5/2018, Hawaii

After a week of intense micro-seismic activity in the wider area of the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii, suddenly on  Thursday 3/5/2018 a volcanic crack appeared near the road network, from which lava and hot steam appeared. The Civil Protection instructed residents of the Puna community (~ 10,000) to leave their homes immediately. On Friday, May 4, 2018, a powerful 6.9 earthquake hit the Big Island, the largest in the past 43 years. 
The team of the BEYOND Center of Excellence of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) responded immediately and activated the GeoHub service. GeoHub service is a fully automated Sentinel satellite data processing application that estimates the spatial deformation due to geophysical processes.
In the case of the ongoing activity in the Kīlauea Volcano, GeoHub was linked with the Greek Sentinel Mirror Site and downloaded a time series of Sentinel-1 radar images. The powerful BEYOND/NOA servers, within minutes after receiving the appropriate Sentinel-1 satellite imagery, processed this data set using radar differential interferometry techniques, and promptly delivered to the international scientific community constantly updated information on the evolution of the regional deformation.
The resulting interferograms that correspond to the ground deformation patterns for 2 cases: the first one covers only the period of the volcanic eruption that began on Thursday, while the second covers both the period of the volcanic eruption and the effect of Friday’s large earthquake on. Each interferometric fringe, these contour-like curves appearing on the interferograms, correspond to approximately 2.8 cm vertical displacement of the ground.

More information are available here.

Oaxaca Earthquake,16/2/2018/, Mexico

The 2018 Oaxaca earthquake occurred on February 16, 2018 at 17:39 local time (23:39 UTC) in the Sierra Madre del Sur in Oaxaca state in Southern Mexico. It had a magnitude of 7.2 on the moment magnitude scale and a maximum felt intensity of VII (very strong) on the Mercalli intensity scale. The hypocenter was located at a depth of 24.6 km and approximately 37 km northeast of Pinotepa de Don Luis.
Descending and ascending Sentinel-1 imagery were acquired and processed through GeoHub, producing wrapped interferograms depicting the ground deformation pattern. Up to 40 cm of uplift of the ground surface was observed near the coast, showing that the location of the earthquake was close to the coast, far from the initial USGS epicenter location.

Khamsin and Foehn winds lead a major dust outbreak in Crete

A record-breaking dust episode took place in Crete on 22 March 2018. The event was characterized by surface concentrations exceeding 1 mg/m3 for a period of 4–7 h, reaching record values higher than 6 mg/m3 at the background station of Finokalia. This type of dusty southerly wind is commonly known as “Khamsin”. As the flow approached Crete, Foehn winds at the lee side of the island favored the downward mixing of dust towards the surface, resulting in local maxima of PM10 in Heraklion and Finokalia. The analysis is based on the combination of high-resolution WRF-Chem simulations reaching up to 1 × 1 km grid space over Crete, ground-based and satellite remote sensing of the dust plumes (PollyXT LiDAR, MSG-SEVIRI, MODIS) and detailed surface aerosol in situ measurements at urban (Heraklion, Chania) and background (Finokalia) stations in Crete. The results of the study have been presented at the 38th Annual EARSeL Symposium in Chania and published in Atmosphere journal.

Emergency Management Service
Risk & Recovery Activations

Nyiragongo Volcano activity, Congo, Africa

The scope of the service request EMSN-047 was to provide background information, concerning Nyiragongo volcano activity and its impact to the surrounding urban agglomerations and infrastructures. We have collected and present relevant information, including historical information and data, the current situation, etch, including key references.
The specific activation focuses on pre‐disaster situation analysis. More specifically it addresses risk analyses with a focus on volcanic hazard, caused by Nyiragongo activity, and highly accurate DEM to simulate lava flow pathways, which will be used for future eruptions management.

Sardinia’s rivers flow (Tirso and Cedrino), Italy

The scope of the service request EMSN-048 is to generate a comprehensive knowledge by performing a post-disaster situation analysis, concerning a flood event that occurred within January 18 to January 22, 2017, within two main Sardinia’s rivers flow (Tirso and Cedrino)
and a pre-disaster assessment in four selected areas (Orosei, Oliena, Buduso and Ottana) located in Sardinia (Italy). In details, the pre-event analysis focuses on the assessing the vulnerability of population and assets (infrastructures/environmental assets and transportation network) and the post-flood event analysis orients on the detection of the spatial extent of the flooded areas.

Post-disaster and pre-disaster flood risk analysis, Villa Santa Lucia (273 inhabitants),
Chaiten, Southern Chile

The scope of the service request EMSN-053 is to generate both post-disaster and pre-disaster flood risk analysis, concerning the mudslide event that occurred on 16th January of 2017, in Villa Santa Lucia (273 inhabitants), in the commune of Chaiten, Southern Chile.
In details, pre-event analysis focuses on the assessment of flood risk hazard, exposure and vulnerability, with respect to the population and assets in Futaleufu, Palena, Villa Vanguardia, Villa Santa Lucia and Puerto Cardenas regions. The analysis also includes mitigation measures with respect to all evaluated risks. The post-event analysis orients on the delineation of flood and landslide (mudslide) extent in Villa Santa Lucia region. This analysis focuses on reducing the adverse consequences of flooding for both population and the local economy and contributes to the planning of prevention, protection and preparedness measures, taking into account the characteristics of the areas of interest.

International Hub News

NOA & GRNET operate the
Copernicus International Hub

The Greek node of the Copernicus Data Hub services has been promoted to operate additional Copernicus Hub services, further to the International Hub operated since October 2017. On behalf of the European Space Agency, NOA currently operates seven different Copernicus Hub services, for the distribution of Sentinel data to different stakeholder groups. These include the S5P Expert and S5P PreOperational Hubs, making the Greek node the single access node for S5P satellite products worldwide, the AfricaCast Hub for the delivery of selected Sentinel-3 products over Africa to Eumetsat, the Dias Hub Node 3 for serving the five Copernicus Data and Information Access Service Providers, the Collaborative Hub Node 3 for serving the national Collaborative Ground Segments initiatives in Europe, and the Temporary Hub that acts as a back-up node in case the main Hub services fail. These Copernicus Data Hub services run on top of GRNET infrastructure, which has grown to contain 60 Victual Machines with more than 650 CPU cores, 2.2 TiB of RAM and linked with more than 800 TiB of NFS and object storage.

BEYOND Training Activities 
BEYOND Centre of Excellence funded by the 
Copernicus Partnership Agreement to implement 
national training activities

In its 2016 Communication on a European Space Strategy  the Commission states that "The Commission’s aim is to optimise the benefits that space brings to society and the wider EU economy. Achieving this means boosting demand among public and private users, facilitating access to and use of space data, and stimulating the development and use of innovative downstream applications. It also means ensuring the continuity and user-driven development of EU space programmes." A principal element of achieving this aim is to enhance user uptake of Copernicus data and services. The Commission has defined a User Uptake Strategy, identifying objectives, key principles and 16 specific actions to implement user uptake measures in the framework of Copernicus.

The BEYOND Centre of Excellence in cooperation with Praxi Network following the original Caroline Herschel FPA Call will implememt several activities related to three Tiers: i)National User Uptake, ii)Global actions, including European cross border user uptake and international user uptake and iii)Business solutions and innovative products.

More information about the training activities for 2018 are available at BEYOND website.

BEYOND Exploitation
BEYOND Team @ Copernicus Hackathon Athens
12-13 October, Athens, Greece

The Copernicus Hackathon gave participants the chance, to meet people that share the same interests on the ways the Space Technologies can be used to explore many application fields here on Earth. Together with other enthusiasts the participants got free access to Copernicus space data, support from mentors and the option to follow several business and technical workshops. BEYOND’s team was part of the scientific committee as a mentor and guided the participants in the thematic area of Natural Disasters.

BEYOND Team @ Romanian Space Agency Annual Conference
11-12 October 2018, Bucharest, Romania

The Regional Data Hub of Geo-Cradle and the BEYOND EO Centre data platforms in support to the data exploitation platform concept were presented on Romanin Space Agency Annula Conference by Alexia Tsouni, National Observatory of Athens. Many thanks to the organisers for this conference, and to Eurisy for the οorganisation of the round table on data exploitation platforms.
More info are available here

BEYOND Team @ Space Week 2018
06/10/2018, National Observatory of Athens
The Director of the BEYOND Centre participated in a dedicated  event  on Space Week 2018 which  was organised by the National Observatory of Athens. Dr. Haris Kontoes  presented to the the general public the benefits of  space tecnology and EO applications in our lives!
BEYOND Team @ Reasearchers Night 2018
05/10/2018, Democritos Research Centre
Athens, Greece
The BEYOND team participated in the Researchers Night 2018 mega event on October 5th at Demokritos Research Center.  The Researcher's Night, is the largest pan-European celebration of science and research, with the participation of academic/research centers from 300 cities in Europe. The main  BEYOND Web services and Research Thematic Areas were presented in the general public. 
BEYOND Team @ RECAP H2020 Project Annual Meeting,
19/09/2018, INSPIRE Conference, Belgium

Dr Haris Kontoes, Coordinator of the BEYOND team gave an oral presentation in the session "Enabling a more efficient monitoring of the Common Agriculture Policy using open satellite and user generated data – The RECAP H2020 project", on Wednesday, September 19th. The RECAP H2020 final meeting took place at the INSPIRE Conference 2018,18-21 September, Antwerp, Belgium.

BEYOND Team @ EOPEN Annual Meeting 
13-14/09/2018, Athens, Greece

The BEYOND Team participated in the EOPEN annual meeting in AThens from 13 to 14 September 2018. The aim of EOPEN is to research innovating ways  on how to make commercial services that are faster, more effective and efficient in 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 @ 2oth Anniversary of Baveno Manifesto
20-21 June 2018, Baveno, Italy

RECAP crop identification processing chain developed by the BEYOND Team!
On the 20th and 21st of June the 20th Anniversary of the Baveno Manifesto – the birth of Copernicus program was commemorated in Baveno, Italy; dedicating the event to the official launch of Data and Information Access Services (DIAS).
The National Observatory of Athens (NOA)/ BEYOND Team participated in the Anniversary as an Early Adopter of the DIAS platform ONDA. NOA, within the framework of the H2020 RECAP project, has developed a novel, fully automated, object-based crop identification application that exploits time-series of Sentinel-2 images and applies machine learning algorithms.
Potential end-users are primarily Paying Agencies in Europe with a mandate to systematically monitor the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Other potential customers are agro-consultants and the farmers themselves by reducing the unintentional error rate in their declarations.
The application is currently being validated with the participation of Paying Agencies and farmers in Spain, Greece and Lithuania.

More info are available here.

BEYOND Team @ GEOMAPLICA International Conference
25-29 June 2018, Syros - Mykonos islands, Greece

The role of the BEYOND Center of Excellence  in COPERNICUS, for the monitoring of natural disasters in support to the Emergency Management Service ( EMS ) and the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS),  as well as the role of BEYOND in the massive delivery of Sentinel satellite data to the scientific and stakeholders communities, was presented in the keynote speech given by Haris Kontoes , in the opening of the Geomapplica 2018 International Conference on Geomatics Applications.
The Conference took  place from  25-29 June 2018, in Syros – Mykonos Islands, Greece, organized by the Department of Planning and Regional Development of the School of Engineering, University of Thessaly, Greece.
We are thankful to the organizers for the invitation to participate and present to the audience the support of BEYOND to the EO value adding chain, making freely available the Copernicus data and Services through the Hellenic Mirror Site. Moreover, the free and direct access to volumes of Geospatial Data through the GEOSS portal , and the sustained operation of the GEO-CRADLE Regional Data Hub was also presented.

BEYOND Team @ the 38th Annual EARSeL Symposium
9-12 July 2018, Chania, Greece

Dr Ioannis Papoutsis chaired the session "Natural & Man-Made Disasters" and presented the GeoHub service, while Ms Alexia Tsouni presented the FloodHub service. 
Dr Stavros Solomos presented the Desert Dust service, while Mr Vasileios Sitokonstantinou presented a transferable Sentinel-based Agricultural Monitoring Scheme. Dr. Haris Kontoes chaired the session "Forest Fires" and presented the awarded operational FireHub service.

BEYOND Team @ the MedRIN Kick-off  Meeting
13-14 July 2018, Chania, Greece

Dr Haris Kontoes presenting the BEYOND EO Center of Excellence and the GEO-CRADLE  project at the Mediterranean Regional Information Network (MedRIN) Kick-off Meeting in Chania, Greece, 13 & 14 July 2018. MedRIN project will serve as a liaising network of remote sensing scientists working on land cover/land use change and stakeholders in the Mediterranean region.

BEYOND @ Media


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