Europe has achieved important successes in many scientific areas of Earth observation with SAR imagery, interferometry, oceanic altimetry, and atmospheric chemistry, to name just a few.On the other hand, Earth Observation has only partially reached a mature and self-sustainable operational or commercial activity. There may be several reasons, for sure correlated by themselves, for this not completely satisfactory result. But above all, the major causes are currently considered the barrier of data cost, the hurdle of data access and the pressing constraint on real time need.
In this frame, EODIS (an ongoing ARTES-5 project supported by five Italian companies, including the prime contractor Telbios) aims at helping European users, in accessing Earth Observation data.
The key feature of EODIS is its flexibility, based on an enhancement of the actual Data Dissemination System used by ESA for the dissemination of Envisat data to more than 20 receiving stations spread over Europe.
EODIS ground data will be able to distribute also several 'Third Party Missions', meaning satellites sensor data from non-ESA countries, as well as ESA missions.
The EODIS network will consist of three subsystems, located in:
- DES stations at ESRIN (Italy, Frascati) and another location in Europe, where space data are acquired, processed and transmitted in multicasting or broadcasting to the users;
- The EOC (EODIS Operating Center) located at Rome (Telbios science park) in charge of coordinating all Earth Observation services provided through the integrated satellite and terrestrial network. It also performs centralised service session reservation (on demand products) able to stop ongoing dissemination and to provide urgent data to requesting users in near real time.
- 5 receiving station spread over Europe (location To Be Defined).
The space segment consists of several TPM and ESA satellites, complemented by some telecommunication satellite capacity rented by ESA on the Eutelsat Sesat geostationary satellite, used for multicasting the data transmitted from the uplink stations.
The users themselves will provide feedback via terrestrial return link (Internet), and a separate network centre at EOC will constantly monitor all the networks performance. In this way problems with quality control can be kept to a minimum. Reducing the misuse of resources (by giving a lower priority to old data for example) will largely increase the competitiveness of the system and accomplish cost control.