DREAMing Service Innovation Forward

While "Big Data" increasingly is on the radar of all of us, another big wave is approaching us from behind: the quest for substantially more flexible, powerful, and user-friendly access to geo information. The DREAM (Decision Support and Real Time Earth Observation Data Mangement) project, which is funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), has set out to establish novel solutions or data centers and their users. Now DREAM has finished a concise requirements study paving the way to innovative services.

August 2012. The DREAM consortium, represented by rasdaman GmbH, has proposed several standard drafts extending WCS with essential functionality like image scaling, band selection, and reprojection. These drafts are currently being discussed within OGC, with a planned adoption aiming at the end of 2012.

The DREAM project addresses two core issues of geo service provision: on the one hand, integrated management of high-volume, heterogeneous satellite data; on the other hand, user-driven, quick, and flexible filtering and processing of data stored in such large-scale archives gets tackled. Operational installations will be provided for EUSC (European Union Satellite Centre) near Madrid, EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) in Lisbon, the ESA data center in Frascati, and NLR (National Aerospace Agency) in the Netherlands. In the first project period, which has ended now, requirements have been elicited stemming from the divergent missions and day-to-day requirements of these data centers.

Following an ESA requirement, DREAM puts strong emphasis on the use of open, interoperable standards. Not only does this mandate the use of standards-conformant tools; in addition, DREAM actively contributes to advancing standardization by providing new specification components. Focus here is on the main OGC standard set supporting multi-dimensional raster data, the Web Coverage Service (WCS) suite. The GML Application Schema for Coverages (GMLCOV) establishes a common conceptual model of coverages (including raster data), while the WCS Core defines basic service components. WCS extensions add further functionality facets which a vendor may choose to implement. In DREAM, particular emphasis is on the data extraction and processing facilities, such as the Web Coverage Processing Service (WCPS) raster query language.

The rasdaman raster analytics engine, available for free on at http://www.rasdaman.org, provides the platform for developing the new OGC standards specifications, such as support for data formats like LIDAR and GML JPEG2000. Right now, rasdaman is already the OGC candidate reference implementation for WCS. Further, rasdaman has been included in the OSGeo Live set of particularly recommended open-source geo projects and as the only multi-dimensional raster database supporting PostgreSQL and PostGIS.