Why this is the big step for the space industry?
ESA is the world leader in Earth Observation (EO). EO data plays a crucial role in studying, analysing, understanding and predicting natural processes and human-related activities.
Recently, the term ‘big Earth data’ emerged to describe massive EO datasets that confronts analysts and their traditional workflows with a range of challenges (Sudmanns et al., 2019
). It is believed that in order for the data to be ‘big’, the following 5 ‘V’s’ need to be present: volume of data, velocity (how quickly data is generated, processed and moved around), variety (diversity of forms and types), and veracity (quality and accuracy of data), and value the data provides for further analysis. Just like traditional big data, the main challenge in big Earth Data is an increase in data volume and handling of the data, as well as its veracity.
According to the Copernicus Sentinel Data Access Annual Report
released in September 2021, 8.6 PB (7.65 PiB) of user-level data from Sentinel satellites was published in 2020, including 4.7 PB (4.15 PiB) from Sentinel 2. That is 23.6 TB and 12.9 per day respectively. Data volume keeps growing steadily year on year since the start of Operations in 2014, accounting for 2% of all published data volume in 2015, to 20% in 2018, and 31% in 2020.
Dotphoton has achieved up to 7:1 compression for Earth Observation images, and with images being up to 7 times smaller, it brings about a large impact on how data could be stored and handled. Previously, ESA and Dotphoton stated
that “The activity (collaboration between Dotphoton and ESA) confirmed that raw images maintained their quality even when compressed down to a ratio of 10:1. Ultimately, this could reduce costs for data transfer and data storage for ESA’s Earth Observation programme”.