The provision of EO data products and services based on satellite image processing is one of the core activities of ITHACA since its foundation, representing the bridge between its scientific competences and their practical application for the benefit of the broader community. In the framework of the Copernicus Programme, ITHACA is involved in several activities in the In Situ and in the Service components.

Copernicus Emergency Management Service – Rapid Mapping

Under a contract awarded by the European Commission for the operational provision of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, ITHACA, in partnership with e-GEOS (leader), GAF, SIRS, SERTIT and DLR, has been awarded the prosecution of Copernicus Emergency Management Service operations for the period 2015 – 2019. The Service provides maps of damage assessment and of reference pre-event situation based on satellite images, to support civil protection and humanitarian aid operators in their tasks related to the reaction to natural/manmade disasters. Access to the service is centrally coordinated at European Commission level by DG ECHO and it is granted free of charge to authorized Users operating in Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aids sectors, belonging to the European Member States as well as international organizations such as the United Nations, the World bank or other NGOs.

Given the target user community, the main characteristic of the rapid mapping component of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service is the all-year-round 24/7 availability, the extremely quick response time and the very fast map delivery time. After the reception of a service activation request, relevant optical and radar satellite resources are immediately tasked to acquire images of the affected area and post event damage assessment maps are delivered within few hours after the satellite acquisition.

Main drivers for activations are volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, oil spills, fires, humanitarian crisis, border conflicts and any other event that requires rapid response.

The results of the service in near real time are published on the Copernicus portal, directly managed by the European Commission and are made publicly available in accordance with the Copernicus policy on free and open data.

Services supporting the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) implementation of cross-cutting activities for coordination of the in situ component of the Copernicus Programme – Lot 2 (Spatial Data Themes)

The objective of this service is to assist the EEA in implementing the cross-cutting activities for coordination of the in situ component of the Copernicus Programme. ITHACA is part of a consortium led by e-Geos which includes also ISPRA and Evenflow. The activities performed are aimed to:

  1. establish and maintain an overview of the state of play of in situ data for Copernicus services;
  2. provide in situ data including access to reference data for Copernicus services;
  3. manage partnerships with data providers to improve access and use conditions of in situ data for Copernicus services;
  4. support to the EC and Copernicus services on in situ data issues.

Framework Service Contract for Global Land High Resolution Hot Spot Monitoring within the Global Land Component of the Copernicus Land Service (C-GL-HRM) Lot 1 – Operation of the Global Land component: Hot-Spot Mapping

The main objective of this activity is to provide detailed land information on specific areas of interest for the European Union (EU) outside the EU territory. The service will answer to ad hoc requests and focus particularly within the domain of the sustainable management of natural resources. For such areas of interest, including protected areas or hot spots for biodiversity and land degradation, land cover and land cover change products will be provided.

ITHACA is partner in the consortium – led by e-Geos and partnered by Telespazio Iberica – that was awarded the lot 1 contract (operations of the global land component: hot spot mapping) which is structured in 2 components:

  1. land cover mapping — single data;
  2. land cover change mapping.

The final product of the C-GL-HSM service will be detailed thematic land cover and land cover change dynamics mapping and information processed in a standardized and harmonized manner over the requested area of interest. The latter may differ in size and requested detail might vary from area to area.

In particular, Ithaca is responsible for the internal validation of LC and LCC products, aimed at assessing the thematic accuracy of the generated datasets. The blind validation is based on the visual interpretation of an adequate number of validation points (identified through a stratified sampling schema) and the subsequent calculation of the relevant accuracy metrics.