An ambitious ESA activity is set to enable a broad range of users to unlock the potential of Europe’s Destination Earth (DestinE) Initiative – as highlighted by a presentation delivered at EGU 2023.
The agency is coordinating the development of DestinE’s Core Service Platform (DESP), which will provide access to the DestinE system.
DestinE is a flagship European Commission initiative to develop a highly accurate digital model of Earth that will monitor, simulate and predict the interactions between natural phenomena and human activities.
The initiative is expected to contribute strongly to the European Commission’s Green Deal, as well as its Data and Digital Strategy.
A vital component of DestinE, DESP is led by ESA and is expected to be implemented and operated by industry.
ESA data processing engineer Inés Sanz Morère, who delivered the EGU presentation, said, “DESP is an ambitious project that will advance the objectives of DestinE by providing an ecosystem of services aimed at facilitating evidence-based decision-making and the development of applications.”
“It is designed to be functional for a wide variety of user profiles.”
Based on an open and secure cloud-based architecture, the platform will be easily accessible by everyday users, service providers, and external services that intend to explore the functionalities of DestinE.
It will enable the development of applications targeting DestinE data and deliver a comprehensive framework for the analysis and management of Earth system processes.
DESP also promises to provide direct user access to the data and functionalities provided by the other two DestinE components, the Digital Twin Engine and the Data Lake.
“DESP is procured by ESA, but it is fully implemented by external entities and we are actively seeking out potential collaborators,” added Sanz Morère.
The services developed by these partners should be easily adaptable to different user scenarios and include scalability options, so that any potential number of users can be accommodated.
The services must also be inclusive for all DESP users and commit to meeting quality standards that ensure operational performance.
There are three main opportunities for potential contributors.
The first – called ESA Use Cases – is now open and focuses on identifying pre-operational applications that will demonstrate the scientific value of DESP.
The second – called ESA Advanced Services – will open shortly and is focused on operational services to be integrated into DESP.
Finally, a call for expressions of interests delivered as part of ESA’s Digital Twin programme – which aims to demonstrate the potential value of Earth observation data for the future evolution of DestinE – is also currently open.
Sanz Morère concluded by saying, “On the occasion of EGU, it is important to highlight how DESP’s services will facilitate science – and the platform will do this in two ways:
“Firstly, as a development environment, DESP will provide a collaborative digital space for software development, enable easy access to a wide variety of data sources, and provide resources for model runs and artificial intelligence functionalities.
“Secondly, as an ecosystem for hosting mature services, DESP will ensure such services are visible to the whole DestinE community, as well as supporting operational services adaptation and integration, and allowing access to a variety of tools for information sharing and impact assessment.”