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Big Data from Space

21 November 2014

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Climate Change, crisis information, digital humanitarians, disaster resilience, earthquake precursor, flood detection, forest monitoring, and green-house gases are just some of the themes where Big Data from Space plays a fundamental role and will change the way in which these themes are addressed. This emerges from the recent 2014 Conference on Big Data from Space, co-organised by ESA, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, and the European Union Satellite Centre.

Big Data from Space refers to Earth and space observation data collected by space-borne and ground-based sensors. Whether for Earth or space observation, they qualify as being called 'big data' given the sheer volume of sensed data, now reaching the Exabyte scale. This is not the only qualifying measure however; there is also the velocity as new data is acquired almost on a continuous basis and with an increasing rate, their variety, delivered by sensors acting over various frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum in passive and active modes, as well as their veracity as sensed data is associated with uncertainty and accuracy measurements. Last but not least, the value of big data from space depends on our capacity to extract information and meaning from them.

The Big Data from Space conference (BiDS), which took place from 12 to 14 November at ESA's ESRIN facility in Frascati, Italy, brought together researchers, engineers, developers, and users in the area of Big Data in the space sector. The focus was on the whole data life cycle, ranging from data acquisition by space borne and ground-based sensors to data management, analysis and exploitation in the domains of Earth Observation, Space Science and Astronomy, Climate Change, etc. Special emphasis was placed on highlighting synergies and cross fertilisation opportunities.

Source: Earth Online

Image credit: USGS/ESA - Landsat-8 view of Alberta, Canada

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