BEAM and the Sentinel Exploitation Tools
Fomferra, Norman1; Danne, Olaf1; Embacher, Sabine1; Fincke, Tonio1; Peters, Marco1; Quast, Ralf1; Veci, Luis2; Zühlke, Marco1; Storm, Thomas1; Brockmann, Carsten1
1Brockmann Consult GmbH, GERMANY; 2Array Systems Computing Inc, CANADA
The ESA BEAM project was kicked-off 10 years ago. Its initial objective was to provide a set of open source tools and application programming interfaces for the exploitation of remotely sensed data products of Envisat’s MERIS, AATSR and ASAR instruments. After its first release, the BEAM toolbox was very well received by data users and also software developers. While being further developed over the years, 24 versions have been released so far, and the former Envisat toolbox turned into a generic Development Platform for Earth Observation data visualisation, analysis and processing. Due to its open and modular architecture and its extendibility through plug-ins BEAM comprises a large number of tools supporting a variety of Earth Observation sensors and data formats. Today, BEAM counts a few thousand users and is actively developed and maintained by Brockmann Consult. External collaborators contribute to the BEAM source code and external organisations provide additional plug-ins.
The main components of BEAM are:
The most important extension points provided by the BEAM Development Platform are:
The following features are provided by the BEAM/VISAT desktop application:
The supported sensors are MERIS, AATSR, ASAR of Envisat, ATSR and SAR of ERS, ALOS, AVNIR-2 of PRISM, MODIS of Aqua and Terra, CHRIS of PROBA, AVHRR of NOAA-KLM and MetOp, VGT of SPOT, TM of Landsat and many more available as plug-ins. Furthermore BEAM supports opening files of a number of formats commonly used in the modelling and remote sensing domain such as GeoTIFF, NetCDF CF and HDF-EOS. The BEAM development platform is the basis of a number of very efficient EO data applications. Among those, the most prominent application is NEST, a specialisation of BEAM comprising many new readers, processors and GUI extensions dedicated to the exploitation of SAR data. NEST is developed by the Canadian company Array Systems Computing.
BEAM has lately been enhanced by a number of efficient and user-friendly tools supporting validation activities. A number of new features are resulting from a fruitful collaboration with the NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG). The OBPG group is developing SeaDAS, a comprehensive image analysis package for the processing, display, analysis, and quality control of ocean color data. The OBPG group is currently replacing the SeaDAS 6 frontend using BEAM’s VISAT RCP. The new SeaDAS 7 frontend will also offer a number of great new tools for SeaDAS users. All SeaDAS command-line processing tools (l2gen, l3gen, etc) will be callable from modern and intuitive user interfaces. The new SeaDAS 7 frontend will of course support all data products offered through the OPBG, namely MODIS, SeaWiFS, CZCS, OCTS and VIIRS.
Recently, Brockmann Consult and Array have developed the first version of the Sentinel Exploitation Tools. The main objective of the development of Sentinel Exploitation Tools is to provide users a means to work with all standard data products generated by the sensors on board of the new Sentinel satellites which will be launched 2013-2015. This includes fast visualisation, comprehensive analysis and effective processing of the data. The requested way to achieve this is to extend the existing ESA toolboxes BEAM and NEST by dedicated reader plug-ins for the Sentinel user products. This way, the majority of the existing NEST (for the Sentinel 1 data products) and BEAM (for the Sentinel 2 and 3 data products) features are applicable to these data products. The Sentinel product readers for BEAM and NEST have been developed within the ESA SUHET Project (Sentinel Product Handbook and Exploitation Tools).
In addition to a number of dedicated readers, the Sentinel 2 Atmospheric Correction Processor for Sentinel 2 MSI L1 data will be integrated into the BEAM toolbox. Developing efficient tools for the Sentinel data products is a challenging task and is due to the greatly increased data volumes. Single Sentinel data products are magnitudes larger than their Envisat counterparts, and they do provide much more information, including increased spatial and spectral resolution coupled with the provision of per-pixel annotations such as geo-location, sensing time, measurement uncertainties and other quality information. The Sentinel Exploitation Tools will make available the following data products for a maximum of existing BEAM and NEST visualisation, analysis and processing tools: