EO for Security Applications: From Projects to Services
Pedrazzani, Donata; Yague, Julia
European institutions have increasingly fostered the use of Earth Observation (EO) for security applications. The European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (EC) have consolidated funding schemes for Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), now called Copernicus. This programme is a joint initiative of the EC and ESA, aiming at an autonomous and operational EO capacity. The objective is to rationalize the use of multiple sources data to get a timely and quality information, services and knowledge, and to provide access to information in relation to environment and security. Aggregating both space and in-situ data, GMES services can contribute to EU security needs. This has been demonstrated through a series of EU and National research and development projects in the domains of border surveillance (including maritime), humanitarian aid missions, conflict prevention, intelligence and early warning, crisis management and operations. Security within GMES focuses primarily on European External Actions (EEA), border monitoring, maritime security and law enforcement. In addition, ESA within the Value Adding Element (VAE) component of the Earth Observation Envelope Programme launched a call to develop innovative EO derived information services for operational European and international agencies.
Some EO based security services are mature enough and have repeatedly been tested in pre-operational scenarios, as reported by G-MOSAIC, MARISS and NEREIDS projects. Scenarios and services evolve in such way that G-NEXT is specifically dedicated to the provision of security-related services in support to EEAS in a pre-operational environment.
Within the VAE programme, GMV is providing services to the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) in FRONTRISK project. GMV, has developed a demonstration analysis tool to support FRONTEX in making greater use of satellite EO derived information. The trials and the delivered products have been designed according to the requirements expressed by FRONTEX.
Technology is able now to recognize in detailed features related to security such as energy and transport infrastructures, cross-border movements, illicit natural resources depletions and humanitarian exoduses. Geointelligent interpretation of these features is carried out mainly upon SPOT 5 (2,5 m), Pleiades or WorldView-2 (0,5 m) in the optical domain or Cosmoskymed and TerraSar (1 m) in the SAR domain.
From GMV experience in EU FP7 GMES projects, this article will present a subset of security services focusing on border monitoring and critical assets monitoring.