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TOOLS FOR OPEN MULTI-RISK ASSESSMENT USING EARTH OBSERVATION DATA

Final Report Summary - TOLOMEO (TOOLS FOR OPEN MULTI-RISK ASSESSMENT USING EARTH OBSERVATION DATA)

The availability and volume of readily accessible remotely sensed data, collected from heterogeneous platforms (e.g. airborne and satellite instruments) has kept growing in the last few years. The Sentinel missions by the European Space Agency has already started to provide an even more global coverage of the Earth through remote sensing data collected in multi-temporal fashion with shorter revisit times. Multiple sensors, multiple resolutions and multiple acquisition modes. Therefore, an increasingly important problem in the remote sensing community is the need for available, tested, reliable, and possibly free software and tools commonly accepted by all and with the potential to effectively extract information from massive and ever-growing remote sensing data archives.
The TOoLs for Open Multi-risk assessment using Earth Observation data (TOLOMEO) project aimed at, and was able to, developing free/open source tools in the framework of collaborative environment with emphasis on remote sensing analysis tools for risk assessment. The developed software tools have been tested and proved to be robust, easy to use and free. They can thus be used in a collaborative way by researchers and other actors in the Earth Observation (EO) community for extracting information from imagery, and help mapping risk as well as vulnerability and exposure.
The specific aims of TOLOMEO were the exploitation of open software for designing effective tools for the interpretation of EO data in the framework of multi-risk analysis, as well as the general promotion of the collaborative use of these tools outside the restricted groups of technically-savvy people. This will allow everybody who is currently working in parallel on the same area but without coordination, to channel his/her efforts more effectively towards a final goal comprising two main objectives: 1) the development of standardized and open software tools with the potential to effectively and efficiently extract information from remotely sensed data sets, and 2) the exploitation of the developed tools in relevant societal problems related with multi-risk assessment.
Therefore, the TOLOMEO tool were developed via common software platforms, and are available online. The online software platform involved different Working Groups (WGs) devoted to the design and test of the tools developed during the research. The tools were additionally proposed to the general users for evaluation and feedback during their design (there were three release of the tools), thus allowing interactions to be carried online and in a straighforward way.

The tools developed by TOLOMEO are:
• Tools for human exposure (HUEX) to multiple risks: tools for the extraction of the human settlement valid at a global level, using EO data sets with different spatial and temporal resolution, recorded by optical and SAR instruments.
• Tools for deforestation risk analysis (DERA): tools for the monitoring of large forested areas, such as Amazonia, which are subject to many different risks, from fire to illegal lodging, using the available remotely sensed data, especially the free ones already distributed in various forms on the web.
• Tools for earthquake physical (ERVU) vulnerability: tools able to fuse GIS layers and data coming from different sensors, as well as models for specific structures, into a uniquely defined framework able to analyze physical vulnerability of structures and infrastructures in large areas exploring multiple remotely sensed data sets.
• Tools for flood vulnerability (FLOV) characterization: tools providing critical information needed for the definition of the risk level of an area affected by recurrent floods, using data from optical and radar satellites.
• Tools for post-event risk (POER) management: tools for the analysis and monitoring of the post-event situation in case of a major disaster, focused on actual time schedules and acquisition rates for current (and possibly future) sources of satellite data.
In parallel, the TOLOMEO consortium is also working to train users and researchers to improve the computational efficiency of the developed tools and to train the partners to improve the tool design including parallel processing capabilities using different techniques and platforms, such as those based on the efficient exploitation of multiple processing cores available in modern desktop computers, and also resorting to widely available and low-cost specialized hardware in desktop computers (GPUs).

The work by TOLOMEO partners has been now completed, and the final version of the tools is expected to be released to the public by the end of December 2015. As already mentioned, the tools are available via the project web site and are accompanied by video tutorials to understand how they work, their capabilities and limitations. Additionally, test data sets are provided, so that the users can try the tools on known situations, to better understand them.

In addition to the tools, TOLOMEO is expected to provide sharing of best practices in open source/free software developments, enabling capabilities that may go beyond the forecasted application of software development for EO data exploitation, and may be applied to other important aspects of future collaboration, such as medical imaging and medical data mining, bioscience applications and so on.
It has been also developing a critical mass of researchers trained in open source developments, overcoming fragmentation and increasing the collaboration by means of widely available software tools with the potential to grow and benefit from contributions from researchers located anywhere in the world. Moreover, TOLOMEO has been instrumental to establish an improved cooperation between Europe and South America, where Brazil is one of the major players in the field of the exploitation of EO data for environmental management and risk management.