Inter- and Transdisciplinary Sessions
Disciplinary sessions AS–GM
Disciplinary sessions GMPV–TS

Session programme


TSM – Townhall meetings

Programme group chair: Susanne Buiter

TM – Townhall meetings


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed in September 2010 a Formal Earth Science and Observation Framework for Cooperation. This included the setup of a joint NASA-ESA Earth Science Joint Program Planning Group (JPPG) to enhance cooperation in the area of Earth science observation and global climate change. In order to foster the cooperation, three sub-groups were established covering the domains of a) Mission and Technology, b) Cal/Val and Field Campaigns and c) Ground Segment and Data. The JPPG reports to ESA/NASA top executive management on an annual basis.

The key objectives of this collaboration include the identification, evaluation and initiation, as appropriate, of a broad suite of collaboration opportunities, ranging from the coordination for possible cooperation in future missions; the shared interests in technology and instrument development; and the identification of a major new mission that could only be addressed with substantial collaboration. An important aspect is the coordination of measurements from satellites and airborne platforms for calibration and validation to ensure enhanced science and mission return. Substantial efforts have been made in data exchange, defining technical interfaces for information sharing and improved interoperability, as well as, potential joint project on Science/Mission exploitation platforms. Finally, the cross-representation of key American and European experts in NASA Science Teams/Science Definition Teams and ESA Mission Advisory Groups is ensured and coordinated.

The NASA-ESA framework of cooperation in Earth observation will be presented, as well as, some of the major achievements obtained up until now in order to illustrate the benefits of such a coordinated approach for monitoring the Earth and its environment.

Organizer(s): Sandra Cauffman, Maurice Borgeaud, Pierluigi Silvestrin, Steven Neeck, Jack Kaye, Malcolm Davidson, Nickolaus Hanowski, Kevin Murphy, Simonetta Cheli, Kimberly Hurst

Public information:
Introduction by NASA and ESA Co-Chairs, 10 min.

Summary Presentations by Panel Co-Chairs, 30 min.

Discussion, 20 min.

Convener: Jack Kaye | Co-convener: Malcolm Davidson
Tue, 05 May, 19:00–20:00 (CEST)

In the first half of the next decade EUMETSAT and ESA will launch the next generation of meteorological satellites. These provide a continuity of service for the current Meteosat and European Polar System satellites, and extensive opportunities for innovation in meteorological and environmental research.

From geostationary orbit Europe will have for the first time, in addition to higher spectral, spatial and time sample images, an infrared sounder, a lightning imager and the Copernicus Sentinel-4 sounder in the ultraviolet, visible and near infrared spectrum. From polar orbit we will have global coverage from the novel ice cloud imager (ICI), microwave imager, multi-viewing multi-channel multiple-polarisation imaging (3MI) instruments as well as the instruments building on the EPS heritage.

The data from each of these instruments offers potential for use in atmospheric process studies (e.g., aerosols, clouds, precipitation-related), weather and climate modelling, and environmental systems research; in addition, the co-location of instruments on the same platform also offers research and development potential.

In order to work with data as soon as operationally available, approaches will need to be made now to national and European science agencies to establish priorities and support frameworks.

This town hall will present the new programme capabilities and answer questions to support interest by the science community.

Public information:
Bojan Bojkov, Head of the Remote Sensing and Products Division at the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) presented “European research opportunities and priorities for the next generation of meteorological satellites”, in an open online event on 29 April 2020; please find the recording here:


Questions can still be raised via the Slido tool: www.slido.com - meeting code #nextgen-metsat

Target audience for this Townhall event will be researchers and academia interested in using innovative satellite data for meteorological and related environmental research.

In addition to their value in applications, data from the MTG and EPS-SG missions offer huge research potential, such as in atmospheric process studies (e.g., aerosols, clouds, precipitation-related), weather and climate modelling, and environmental systems research. In addition, the co-location of instruments on the same platform also offers research and development potential.

For exploiting the science value of the data as soon as it is operationally available, the research and academic communities need to approach national and European science agencies in order to establish priorities and to put in place the necessary support mechanisms.

Convener: Stephan Bojinski
Tue, 05 May, 19:00–20:00 (CEST)

Datacubes are an accepted cornerstone for analysis-ready data - homogenization of zillions of scenes into a few space-time cubes with unified spatial and temporal access leads to both simpler and more scalable services. The OGC/ISO coverage data and service standards offer a modular, widely implemented, and Petabyte-proven baseline, ranging from simple access and encoding in the Web Coverage Service (WCS) Core to high-end analytics through the WCPS datacube analytics language. Recently, activities are under way to add to WCS an OpenAPI based service protocol, OAPI-Coverages, in an open process. A Fall 2019 hackathon in the UK and a 2020 ESIP/OGC sprint in the US served to stress test drafts and expose and discuss in broader expert communities. In parallel, is ISO advancing the abstract coverage framework.

In this Townhall we continue the policy of “release early, discuss often” by sharing status and directions of the coverage ecosystem. First, coverages are introduced so that no previous experience is required for participation. Next, the status of standardization in OGC, ISO, and INSPIRE are presented, and current trends and activities in coverage standardization get explained. Multiple live demonstration using operational services provide insight for users and implementers, novices and experts alike. Internet-connected participants can recapitulate and modify the live demonstrations. Ample time will be reserved for discussion to capture experiences, requirements, and opinions - altogether centering around the question: What should future coverage and datacube services look like?

Public information:
Dear all, should this session be cancelled I will offer it, same time, via videoconference. The channel is tbd (capacity is the issue, so it might be constrained in the number of participants), best contact me on May 05 to get your participation link: baumann@rasdaman.com .
Stay healthy!

Convener: Peter Baumann
Tue, 05 May, 19:00–20:00 (CEST)

While Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) remote sensing with its weather independence and day-and-night capabilities has long been identified as a useful data set for many science disciplines, it is only due to a number of recent developments that SAR has also become an attractive resource for practitioners and decision-makers in areas such as disaster management, agricultural monitoring, water resource management, and ecosystem sustainability.

New sensors such as Sentinel-1 and the upcoming NASA-ISRO SAR mission (NISAR) are or will provide free and open access to global SAR data with frequent revisit rates. New software and processing algorithms are providing value-added products that come fully geocoded and in easy to read data formats. All of these changes have led to increased demand for SAR data and to a vast diversification of the SAR user community. They have also resulted in a pressing need for a more diverse library of training resources, webinars, and curricula. This is particularly true for the applications and decision-making communities, whose information needs are not well met by currently available training materials.

Building on these identified needs, this town hall follows up on the recent AGU TownHall (https://www.agu.org/Fall-Meeting/Events/Data-TH43K) and seeks to solicit open discussion on key topics:
* Is more capacity needed in processing raw SAR data vs. starting with “Analysis Ready Data” products?
* Is there really a difference between SNAP vs. GAMMA processing?
* What type of computing infrastructure is necessary? (Local development vs. HPC vs. Cloud)
* Is the current set of available learning resources sufficient, and if not what changes are needed?
* What is preventing the remote sensing community from using SAR for operational applications? What are more pressing limitations, data or processing capabilities?

A diverse panel of experts representing four important components of capacity building (1 research; 2 - infrastructure; 3 - end user applications; 4 - curriculum development) will guide a town hall conversation about topics/needs raised by audience participants. The goal of this town hall is to identify the next steps necessary for the increased applied use of SAR. Input collected from this town hall will inform future capacity-building efforts in this important and rapidly growing earth observation field.

Convener: Tyler Erickson | Co-conveners: Andrea Nicolau, David Saah
Thu, 07 May, 19:00–20:00 (CEST)