This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under grant agreement no 730008.

Partner Description

The Consortium Prime GAF AG  is an e-GEOS (Telespazio/ASI) company located in Munich and Neustrelitz, Germany. It is a leading solutions-provider with an international reputation as a skilled supplier of data, products and services in the fields of geo-information, satellite remote sensing, spatial IT and consulting for private and public clients. GAF offers solutions in the sectors of land monitoring, natural resources, water and environment, security, mining and geology, agriculture, forestry and climate change. Since 1985, the company has successfully completed more than 1000 projects worldwide. GAF is one of the most experienced European service providers in the EU/ESA Copernicus programme and covers all thematic domains: Land, Marine, Atmosphere, Climate Change, Emergency Management and Security.

In the ECoLaSS project, GAF acts as overall and scientific project coordinator. Its technical responsibilities comprise the assessment of service evolution requirements in close coordination with the main Copernicus Land stakeholders; prototypic implementation, testing and demonstration of candidate services based on Sentinel time series; as well as benchmarking and selection of most mature services for operational roll-out. Amongst others, GAF is leading the technical implementation of prototypes for incremental updates of the Copernicus High Resolution Layers (HRLs).

SIRS is a French Earth Observation service provider and an independent private company established in 1989 specialising in geographical information production as input to Geographical Information Systems. Over the last 27 years, SIRS has acquired a significant capacity in the development of operational services and managed large-scale geographical information production projects over extended geographical areas. There are currently about 40 staff working at SIRS. Main activities are: Land cover/use mapping for urban planning and environmental monitoring, habitat cartography (Natura 2000), agricultural monitoring and crop inventory, defense geographic data production, forestry inventory and cartography and tree management. SIRS has been involved in a number of large EO based projects related to forestry, land use and agricultural services involving the processing of large amounts of multi-source EO data. Given its experience in Copernicus services and R&D, SIRS will take an important role in the ECoLaSS project and provide technical and management guidance to several tasks.

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JOANNEUM RESEARCH is the largest non-governmental research institute of Austria and the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Research group for Remote Sensing and Geoinformation is very active in national, ESA and EU projects. It has many years of experience in the analyses and presentation of data from remote sensing and terrestrial monitoring systems. The research group can offer a wide scope of know-how in the processing of remote sensing data from both optical and SAR sensors, from airborne as well as space-borne systems. The services and products developed include processing lines for geocoding, derivation of 3D terrain information or surface models and extraction of cartographic information from remote sensing images. Special expertise exists in sensor specific algorithms for optical, SAR and LIDAR systems. The methods developed are geared to GIS compatible products. A special focus is on the development of a flexible airborne platform for the acquisition of optical and thermal image data. The integration of near real-time data processing chains makes the platform ideal for use in safety and security applications, especially in the management of natural disasters. Joanneum Research is responsible for the  Time Series Preparation, Time Series Analyses for Change Detection and the Improved Permanent Grassland Identification.

The Universite Catholique de Louvain (UCL) Geomatics research group is part of the Earth and Life Institute (ELI) at the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium. At the convergence between societal issues and scientific challenges, ELI has the ambition to address the complexity of the earth related systems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Defined by end-user needs and close collaborations with international agencies and private companies, the UCL-Geomatics research strategy is centered on developing automated methods for land cover mapping and change detection at various scales, from local to global. Methods using synergies between optical and SAR remote sensing have also been developed, in a relevant manner, to monitor the land surface dynamics in the agriculture and forestry sectors. The team expertise includes canopy biophysical variable retrieval using radiative transfer modelling, comprehensive field experiments and advanced image processing techniques, including object-based approaches and multivariate statistical methods applied to space-time analyses. The research team is leading or contributing to various national and international projects. Given its rich experience in R&D in combination with its long-term experience in agricultural mapping and monitoring, UCL will focus on agricultural aspects at different scales (e.g. Continental Component of the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service) and provide technical guidance and scientific support to several tasks.

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The German Aerospace Center (DLR) with its German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) as part of the Earth Observation Center (EOC) is engaged in various EO ground segments, now operating the entire payload data ground segment for the national missions TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X. DFD was also selected by ESA to be one of the few Copernicus Processing and Archiving Centers (PACs), responsible for the Sentinel missions 1, 3 and 5 Precursor. Besides that, it has been engaged in the development and operation of thematic user services for more than 20 years. DFD was responsible for the CORINE LC updates CLC2000 and CLC2006 for Germany on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency.

In the ECoLaSS project DLR-DFD contributes to the project with its unique experience in Copernicus service infrastructure, the processing of mass data and specifically Sentinel data time series, as well as with its grassland mapping expertise. Furthermore, DLR-DFD is supporting GAF in promoting the utility of land cover services to the user and stakeholder community and is responsible for the upcoming IT architecture in terms of their capabilities for processing larage columes of EO data as well as for communication, dissemination and exploitation of project outcomes.