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Digital EO infrastructures and initiatives: a review framework based on open principles

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Digital EO infrastructures and initiatives: a review framework based on open principles
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CC Attribution 3.0 Germany:
You are free to use, adapt and copy, distribute and transmit the work or content in adapted or unchanged form for any legal purpose as long as the work is attributed to the author in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
Release Date2023

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This presentation focuses on the democratization of access to Earth Observation (EO) data and the increasing volume and variety of such data. This shift has led to the concept of "bringing the user to the data," as exemplified by the European Copernicus Programme, which provides vast amounts of openly-licensed EO data for research and commercial applications. To support users in analyzing EO data, various cloud-based digital infrastructures and services have emerged, but the current landscape is fragmented. To address this fragmentation, the presentation introduces a user-centric framework for reviewing over 50 existing digital infrastructures and initiatives related to EO. The framework considers user needs and aims to identify overlaps and gaps in the existing ecosystem. It is organized around five pillars: sustainability, redundancy, user onboarding, pricing transparency, and user-centric design. Each pillar includes good practices for developing user-centric infrastructures and services, such as fostering user communities, using open source licensing, adopting open standards, and providing user-friendly documentation. The review of digital EO infrastructures using this framework reveals common limitations, including challenges related to dataset discoverability, steep learning curves, transparency of services and pricing, interoperability, and long-term sustainability. However, it also identifies promising initiatives that adhere to good practices, such as the OpenEO API initiative and the infrastructure of the Open Earth Monitor project, which prioritize open principles and user engagement. This review aims to help both users and providers of EO infrastructures and initiatives by promoting collaboration, identifying improvements, and enhancing the overall user experience in accessing and analyzing EO data.