The EO Data Management Systems team focuses on the development and engineering of software systems covering the full range of EO data management functions, including core functions of long-term data preservation and data access as well as cross-sectional functions such as service monitoring and reporting. Consequently, the team handles complex software systems consisting of own developments as well as of external open source software in order to implement the requirements of multiple Earth Observation (EO) missions and projects. Multi-mission solutions create synergies across projects and unify system development and operations processes. This allows for handling the vast amount of EO data maintained at EOC in a standard and sustainable way and secures their preservation and accessibility for future processing and scientific analysis - employing in particular big data technologies.
As software engineers, team members develop and maintain multiple software systems independently of projects, executing the full software lifecycle with a high level of software engineering practice. This in particular includes analyzing of new software technologies, abstracting from concrete project requirements, creating generic and configurable solutions, adopting relevant established standards, cooperating with external partners and supporting open source software. Combining software engineering with knowledge specific to the EO-domain allows e.g. to develop integrated geospatial data access services including EO metadata catalogues, map-based data visualization, and online EO data analysis and download services. These services rely on pre-processing data into analysis-ready formats as well as on extracting metadata from various specific EO data formats.
Within EO mission projects, team members also assume the role of system engineers during all project phases. This typically starts with feasibility analyses, defining high level requirements and system concepts, and estimating costs. The following system requirements and architecture process details all system components at multiple design levels with a focus on defining scenarios and interfaces. This allows to modularize the subsequent system development, integration, verification, and validation work. System development thereby consists mainly in defining and setting up configurations for the software developed in the team in order to match the specifications of concrete mission data and scenarios.
EO domain expertise on sensors, data formats, and metadata structures as well as on processing steps facilitate the implementation of specific data models and workflows. These may include systematic, data-driven data ingestion, integration, and publication tasks as well as individual, request-driven data acquisition, processing, and delivery functions. Finally, the systems are transferred into operations, including documentation, training, and support for the system operators. The team maintains several distinct system environments in order to support projects in their development, verification, and validation phases.
The team employs innovative approaches such as agile development and continuous integration. It fosters new software and IT technologies for EO data management, access, and exploitation, targeting scientific publications in this domain. The processes followed for software development and system engineering are ISO 9001 certified and intensely rely on professional engineering tools. The team's core expertise includes software development using state-of-the-art methodologies, multiple modern programming languages, database systems, service integration frameworks, web services, geodata formats/standards/services, workflow systems, and system engineering following international standards.
EO Data Management and Access Functions