GMES is a joint initiative of the European Union (EU) and the European Space Agency (ESA) for global observation of the environment and security. Based on already existing and new earth observation technologies GMES aims to create a European-owned and sustainable infrastructure in Europe, delivering operational geoinformation services for the observation of the environment and civil security. These services will fulfill user needs related to monitoring environmental and global climate change, sustainable development, humanitarian aid and civil security topics.
GMES has four interlinked components:
The Earth Observation Center (EOC) in GMES
The Earth Observation Center is significantly involved in the definition, build-up and operations of nearly all GMES components. It is contributing to GMES with its competence, its ground segment systems, its data management systems and its geoinformation applications on national and European scales.
Satellite-based earth observation
Besides the dedicated ESA GMES fleet of satellites (Sentinels), national earth observation systems will complement European earth observation capacities. Data processors and data management, archiving and data distribution systems developed and operated by the Earth Observation Center (EOC) for national missions are designed to assure that data from TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X, EnMAP, as well as earth observation data from Indian and U.S. satellites received in Germany (in cooperation with EuroMAP and EUSI), can be accessed for GMES services.
Ground- and air-based observation systems
The airborne earth observation systems of the EOC are used by international partners and the GMES program to validate and calibrate satellite based systems.Embedded in a network of international atmosphere measurement stations, the Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus (UFS) on Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, is an EOC contribution to the GMES ground-based network.
Ground segment, informations- and data management
The components of a ground segment, developed by EOC and operated as a “Processing and Archiving Center” (PAC) by DFD, comprise antenna systems for the acquisition of satellite data, processors to generate products from this data, and archiving and distribution systems.
With its international ground stations in polar regions, DFD will play an important role in the acquisition of Sentinel satellite data. Based on its long experience as an ESA PAC, DLR will also occupy an important slot in the network of GMES Processing and Archiving Centers. The focus for these centers will be on satellite data to support GMES user services developed and operated in Germany.
The Earth Observation Center (EOC) of the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) and the Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF) are playing an important role in nearly all GMES Service Element (GSE) projects of ESA, with “security,” “land surface monitoring” and “atmosphere” being in the focus of developments. DLR is also engaged in several integrated research and development projects and Networks of Excellence relating to GMES topics which are part of the Seventh Framework Program of the European Commission.
EOC is active in all consortia of the GMES core and pilot services of the Seventh Framework Program, partly with leading management functions, and as a result is participating in the definition of future operational GMES services.
EOC is also part of national projects to support German institutions and companies in the creation of innovative geoinformation services. The national project DeSecure is managed by DFD.