RUS Service supports Sentinel data users with free resources and open source tools

The service provides Sentinel satellite data from Earth observation as well as the tools and resources to improve forest monitoring and active fire detection.

Satellite Sentinel-2. Photo: ESA/ATG medialab

The  Sentinels, an innovative  fleet  of  satellites  developed  by  the European Space Agency (ESA) for  the  European  Commission, began a systematic acquisition of Earth Observation data all over the globe in 2014. This continuous and global acquisition, currently producing over 12 TB of Earth Observation data per day, will go on for the next decades with follow-on missions, under the Copernicus programme.

A new expert service, the Research and User Support (RUS) for Sentinel Core Products, was launched in September 2017 to foster the use of Earth Observation data coming from the Sentinel constellation. Funded by the European Commission and managed by ESA, this service is operated by a consortium of European companies, offering free access to a massive quantity of Copernicus satellite data. To encourage Sentinel data exploitation, RUS addresses any kind of user at no cost, supplying a scalable cloud computing environment, free ICT resources and storage.

Users are granted time-limited, free Virtual Machines (VMs), pre-equipped with free and open tools – SNAP and QGIS – among others, designed to handle Earth Observation data. This offer is subject to RUS ICT offer and the conditions of use.

Contains modified Copernicus data (captured by Sentinel-1B between June 2017 and November 2018) processed by RUS Copernicus. Photo: Copernicus Research and User Support (RUS) Service

Another advantage of our service is the availability of free teaching material on-line. To meet the needs of different communities of users according to their level of proficiency, we produce live webinars, step-by-step tutorials and videos aimed at capacity building. Among these, the step-by-step tutorials explain how to generate products from data and how to process, analyse and interpret these products.

Our webinars always end with an interactive Q&A session. They can be replayed on our dedicated training platform, where the Q&A compilation document is also available. The step-by-step guides can be downloaded from the Learn-by-yourself pages of the RUS library. All RUS webinars are also available on our YouTube channel.

We have run several Webinars which may be of interest to the EFIMED network. For forestry monitoring, we provided a test case to monitor on-going deforestation over the Chaco region in the north of Paraguay, using Synthetic Aperture Radar Ground Range Detected (GRD) products from the Sentinel-1 as well as Sentinel-2 satellites optical data. Regarding forest fires, we demonstrated how to use the ESA SNAP Sentinel-3 Toolbox to detect active fires with the SLSTR instrument onboard Sentinel-3.

In addition to that, our E-Learning platform offers lectures on the theory behind Earth Observation and the possibility to gain skills and knowledge at your own pace.

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EFIMED is the Mediterranean Facility of the European Forest Institute. Based in Barcelona, Spain, it was launched in 2007.