Arctic Information Centre

Arctic Information Centre

mission
The Arctic Information Centre activity shall assess the establishment of an EO element as an operational part of this EU Arctic Region Initiative and demonstrate access to Arctic datasets already collected within other projects though a web portal. A structured but flexible access to already existing Arctic data sets shall be demonstrated. These data sets are collected e.g. through national Norwegian data collection and monitoring activities such as Barents Watch (pre-runners) and projects such as Polar View, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), ESA DUE/EO project GlobIce, GlobCover and the Sustaining Arctic observation Network (SAON). In particular, the project shall demonstrate the use of web processing services to access, extract and integrate EO and non-EO based information.

The Arctic Information Centre (AIC) geographical area of interest includes the entire circumpolar Arctic above the Arctic Circle. This is reflected in the vision of establishing the AIC as an operational and sustainable entity. However, within the scope of this project, the focus will be dual folded

  • The programmatic work will focus on the establishment of an generic EO element as part of the AIC, based on assessing the requirements of a broad and representative user group
  • The web based implementation will also be of generic nature, but the service demonstrations will be limited to accessing and presenting information from a limited geographical area from the European Arctic.

The user categories to be assessed during the initial phase include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Arctic Research Institutions
  • Local and National Administrations
  • Arctic Policy Experts
  • Arctic indigenous people
  • Private sector companies operating in Arctic region
  • EU institutions and decisions makers
  • NGO’s

 

service at the end of the project

The AIC Web Portal will first and foremost be a data access hub, i.e. provide information on datasets physically located at data servers accessible over the internet at different institutions. The web portal provides access to these distributed datasets which can then be downloaded on the formats provided by the original dataset provider.

 

service details

The Arctic Information Centre activity shall assess the establishment of an EO element as an operational part of this EU Arctic Region Initiative and demonstrate access to Arctic datasets already collected within other projects though a web portal. A structured but flexible access to already existing Arctic data sets shall be demonstrated. These data sets are collected e.g. through national Norwegian data collection and monitoring activities such as Barents Watch (pre-runners) and projects such as Polar View, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), ESA DUE/EO project GlobIce, GlobCover and the Sustaining Arctic observation Network (SAON). In particular, the project shall demonstrate the use of web processing services to access, extract and integrate EO and non-EO based information.

  • Main Benefits for users

The user categories to be assessed during the initial phase include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Arctic Research Institutions
  • Local and National Administrations
  • Arctic Policy Experts
  • Arctic indigenous people,
  • Private sector companies operating in Arctic region
  • EU institutions and decisions makers
  • NGO’s

The generic user requirements will be documented and used for a final assessment of the AIC EO element compared and coordinated with the other Arctic information elements. A preliminary approach is that while many of the other information elements serve national, operational needs, AIC should preferably focus on longer term information needs e.g. including statistics and trends. The service to be implemented and demonstrated in this project will be limited to cover the needs of specific users having interests in specific but limited geographical areas in the European Arctic.

 

It should also be notified that some of the implementations under this project might become operationally implemented under any of the other Arctic information systems or initiatives. The figure below gives one example of a relevant Arctic Information Portal implemented under the ESA PolarView project.

 

    Figure 4‑1: PolarView Arctic Node web portal

 

Targeted users for the first phase of this project include::

  • Areas of Interest

The Arctic Information Centre (AIC) geographical area of interest includes the entire circumpolar Arctic above the Arctic Circle. This is reflected in the vision of establishing the AIC as an operational and sustainable entity. However, within the scope of this project, the focus will be dual folded:

  • The programmatic work will focus on the establishment of an generic EO element as part of the AIC, based on assessing the requirements of a broad and representative user group
  • The web based implementation will also be of generic nature, but the service demonstrations will be limited to accessing and presenting information from a limited geographical area from the European Arctic.

 

Figure 4‑2: Indication of geographical area of interest for the AIC EO activity

 

The AIC web portal will be providing information from several different service providers through a single interface. In an overall view, the web portal primarily provides interactive search and retrieval functionality. This means that the portal will be serving information, with coverage in the Arctic region, to users who want this information for further processing, analysis, and/or presentation.

The earth observation information in question may include satellite imagery products, numerical measurement data sets, EO-derived vector data sets, geo-tagged documents and presentations. In some cases users may integrate a number of information services from the AIC into their own analysis and decision support systems. In other cases users may be interested in ready reports and overview of the information available in the AIC. The AIC web portal will focus on functionalities like:

  • Searching; the user can search for products and datasets with coverage within given area of interest, time period, specific metadata attribute values, and keywords. The user is authorized for viewing the products/datasets in the result list.
  • Retrieving; the authorized user may download products/information of interest.
  • Display of information in a web map; imagery and datasets are displayed in a web map to show coverage and inspect data set content type. Emphasis will be on dataset inspection and not on multi-layer presentation or cartographic map composition.
  • Web processing services; in specific cases the user may select a dataset/product to use as input for generation of new derived dataset, choosing a suitable algorithm or model, to receive the derived output rather than the initial product. Such web processes may include classification algorithms, format conversion, automatic feature extraction, filtering procedures, etc.
  • Clip, zip and ship; this functionality enables the user clip an image/dataset in coverage to here area of interest, package and compress the result, and provide download linkage to the user. Data download will in some cases be interactive, and in some cases asynchronous – facilitated by notification mechanism such as GeoRSS or e-mail.

The service elements to be implemented and demonstrated include:

Web Processing Service based user interface capable of communicating via Web Coverage Processing service to different Arctic environment data bases. The prioritised data sets to be accessed include among others:

  • EO based data on the Arctic environment and conditions collected and provided through ESA projects like Polar View, GlobIce, Globcover, and from  on-going projects and activities including FP7 projects, MyOcean, national Norwegian surveillance activities/SatOcean
  • Transponder data e.g. on vessels (AIS) and/or animals available through national R&D and administration activities
  • Meteorological and/or environmental information from met.offices and/or environmental institutions including the Norwegian met.office, Norwegian KystInfo, and potentially EEA databases, ...
  • Socio-economic and geographical data

 

In order to provide an integrated AIC information portal, links to other Arctic Information Centre activities via interoperable information exchange protocols shall also be demonstrated

The AIC portal shall rely on existing datasets that are available from/via the partners, or collected under other projects like PolarView, Globcover, Globice, BarentsWatch, SAON and others. A flexible and structured access to these databases, and complementary to other project activities shall be established and demonstrated. The first set of data layers that will be made available consists of:

  • Snow cover maps
  • Sea Ice Maps
  • Coastal zone: Erosion, land-water boundaries
  • Vegetation cover, change
  • Land cover

 

  • Future

The expected evolution trends for a period including the next 10 years are given below.

  • Evolution of users/area of interest:
    • In 3 years: There is a strongly increasing interest for the Arctic, and the current positioning among the users and stakeholders will continue. Currently the institutional users are the most active, e.g. through the Norwegian Barents Watch program, environmental organisations interests are expected to grow. Commercial shipping and oil/gas will become more active in this period. From a limited Arctic area in this project, the information will be available from the entire region towards the end of this period. A coordination and harmonisation among the several information initiatives is needed.
    • In 3-10 years: We expect a growth in areas all over the Arctic, and in shipping and offshore industries. Especially maritime transportation between Asia and Europe is expected to grow. The North East passage will become a special focus area for shipping, the Beaufort Sea followed by the Barents Sea (Eastern part) for offshore oil and gas. Areas around Svalbard/towards the ice edge increasing importance because of tourism.
  • Evolution of performance improvement:
    • In 3 years:The availability of the new web based technologies will create in increasing demand for new types of information, more frequently updates, as well as coverage into new areas. Services/products shall be developed according to users’ needs, and made fully automatic.Because of weather and light SAR will be the prime EO source, and increased understanding about SAR technology will provide improved information sets.
    • In 3-10 years:Services/products shall be developed according to new and evolving users’ needs, and made fully automatic.
  • Evolution of new technologies/methodologies:
    • In 3 years: New satellite missions will be available. The Sentinels will be the first new mission, followed by others like RCM, TerraSAR-X2, Cosmo-Skymed next. These more advanced SAR missions in combination with new and more advanced web based algorithm implementations will allow new applications and methods e.g. for ocean state, ice and land.
    • In 3-10 years:New satellite missions shall be available, where method could be used. These include SAR missions with better spatial resolution, which we could expect being useful to all applications in the Arctic. New and more advanced web based algorithm implementations will allow new applications and methods e.g. for ocean state, ice and land.
  • Evolution of sustainability:
    • In 3 years: During the project period of two years it is expected that a decision will be made by the EU about a potential realisation of the AIC. The EO element will become an important part of the complete Arctic information system, but the final position, role and future funding of the compared to the others will be clarified.
    • In 3-10 years:The EO element is fully integrated and operated as part of an Arctic Information System serving all stakeholders and user having an interest in and/or about the Arctic.