EGU22-5643, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

ASI’s roadmap towards scientific downstream applications of satellite data

Deodato Tapete and Alessandro Coletta
Deodato Tapete and Alessandro Coletta
  • Italian Space Agency (ASI), Rome, Italy (

Within the Italian Government’s guidelines on space and aerospace matters to achieve the strategic objectives of the national space policy [1], the “Telecommunications, Earth Observation and Navigation” (TLC/EO/NAV) sector is the first listed by priority order. TLC/EO/NAV satellite services and applications (the so-called “downstream”) will be exploited by citizens and valorized by Institutions under an integrated application perspective. The downstream sector is therefore a key element to maximize the socio-economic impact of investments in the space sector.

In this context, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) aims to bring its contribution, by stimulating the downstream development through initiatives aiming to promote the use of national and European space systems, and the demonstration of new techniques and procedures for information generation to create products and deliver innovation services.

The present paper focuses on the “scientific downstream”, i.e. the (pre-)operational exploitation of state-of-the-art processing and analytical workflows of TLC/EO/NAV data that have been designed, tested, validated and demonstrated by researchers and academia to formerly answer a specific technical-scientific question (e.g. a more accurate retrieval of a geophysical parameter such as soil moisture in vegetated and crop areas) and are brought to a development and engineered stage so as to generate end-use or value-added products (e.g. maps of multi-temporal spatial variation of soil moisture vs. rainfall and irrigation practices, at a temporal frequency as satellite data allow).

To accelerate a faster uptake of satellite-based technologies for the geosciences as new EO missions are launched and made operative – COSMO-SkyMed First and Second Generation in the Synthetic Aperture Radar domain, and PRISMA in the hyperspectral –, ASI is running several initiatives, including:

  • data exploitation [e.g. 2], to make users more acquainted with satellite data and consolidate or prepare for new applications;
  • joint research projects with the national scientific community [e.g. 3], to develop novel algorithms up to at least a Scientific Readiness Level (SRL) of 4, i.e. “Proof of concept”, according to ESA SRL Handbook EOP-SM/2776;
  • dedicated R&D programs for SAR and hyperspectral algorithm developments, supporting projects that aim to address key application domains (e.g. precision agriculture, natural hazards, urban areas);
  • prototyping thematic platforms allowing consolidated algorithms and processing routines to be used for generation of EO-based products [e.g. 4];
  • launch a new program for demonstration projects to capitalize the above algorithm legacy and prepare the scientific downstream.

This paper will discuss ASI’s current activities, achievements, lessons learnt and ongoing developments in the accomplishment of the above roadmap.


[2] Battagliere et al. (2021) Satellite X-band SAR data exploitation trends in the framework of ASI’s COSMO-SkyMed Open Call initiative, Procedia Computer Science 181, 1041–1048.

[3] Tapete et al. (2020) Development of algorithms for the estimation of hydrological parameters combining COSMO-SkyMed and Sentinel time series with in situ measurements, IEEE M2GARSS 2020, 53–56.

[4] Candela et al. (2021) “The Italian Thematic Platform costeLAB: from Earth Observation Big Data to Products in support to Coastal Applications and Downstream,” Proceedings of the 2021 conference on Big Data from Space, EUR 30697 EN, ISBN 978-92-76-37661-3, doi:10.2760/125905, JRC125131.

How to cite: Tapete, D. and Coletta, A.: ASI’s roadmap towards scientific downstream applications of satellite data, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5643,, 2022.


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