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Next Generation GEOSS for Innovation Business

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NextGEOSS (Next Generation GEOSS for Innovation Business)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2020-11-30

NextGEOSS, a European contribution to GEOSS, is a next generation centralised hub and platform. The concept revolves around providing the data and resources to the communities supporting applications. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encapsulate the main challenges of our society, and NextGEOSS made its mission to act as an incubator to applications contributing to the SDGs, supporting their evolution into operational services. It addresses the fragmentation of access to data and resources supporting service developers in Europe.
NextGEOSS is a collaborative and standardised ecosystem where developers find their way to build EO-based applications and services. It serves as a unique access point for a wide range of European EO data seamlessly connected to a distributed processing platform. NextGEOSS evolved gradually and has worked towards a sustainable solution which continues alive beyond the project’s lifetime.
The overall objectives of the NextGEOSS project were:
1) to deliver the next generation European data hub and Earth Observation exploitation for innovation and business;
2) to engage communities promoting innovative GEOSS powered applications from Europe;
3) to advocate GEOSS as a sustainable European approach for EO data distribution and exploitation.
NextGEOSS has evolved throughout six gradually incremental releases:
1) The Alpha Release (June 2017) with deployment of the catalogue, the beginning of the activities of pilots. The catalogue was deployed including the harvest extension that allowed to add new harvesters. Special attention was given to improve the cataloguing datasets and enriching the respective metadata. OpenSearch was improved to allow a wider range of possible queries.
The following was also accomplished:
- Deployment of NextGEOSS' services in cloud infrastructure;
- User support via on-boarding service, including training sessions;
- Initial setup of the Analytics Engine;
- Implementation of User Management (UM) service.
2) The Beta Release (April 2018) included the full integration of the Crop Monitoring supporting Food Security pilot; three new pilots integrated and discovering data through OpenSearch interface; one additional external pilot integrated; further Integration of components.
3) Version 1.0 (January 2019) included:
- Improved UI for Data Hub, allowing users to mimic the 2-step search, with Data Providers, Data Collections and Service Catalogue pages;
- Cataloguing one European project data;
- Integration of 3 internal and 1 external pilots in production;
- Release of the OpenSearch API;
- Refurbished NextGEOSS portal with consolidated service pages and engagement offerings, and new design.
4) Version 1.1 (June 2019), including:
- Integration of all but one the internal pilots into sandbox;
- Integration of 6 internal pilots into production;
- Integration of 2 new external pilots into sandbox;
- Release of 5 community portals;
- Integration of 3 pilots with UM, cataloguing output data; cataloguing external projects.
5) Version 2.0 (November 2019), including:
- All internal pilots except one in production;
- Integration of external pilots and examples of Cloud Bursting in DIAS;
- UM integration for 3 pilots;
- Analytics for 3 more pilots and extended the dashboards;
- Several new harvesters running continuously;
- Implementation of QoS;
- Improved OpenSearch compliance;
- Harvesting of 2 new data sources.
6) Version 3.0 (September 2020), included:
- Refactored backend to sort out performance issue;
- Cataloguing additional data;
- Integration of all remaining pilots.

NextGEOSS has engaged not only the GEO community, but also involving other sectors not traditionally present in EO. Several commercial stakeholders have also been involved and consulted. This involvement has enabled the identification and exploitation of relevant gaps and opportunities for exploring and expanding NextGEOSS services, and developing innovative services.
The NextGEOSS' User Experience also enables the tailoring of the offer to the new stakeholders. For this, NextGEOSS enables new applications to find and retrieve new data, supporting research institutes, universities, and commercial companies to enter the market with new product ideas and services.
The project held one summit per year and participated in the EuroGEOSS Workshops. There were continuous communication and dissemination activities, including the webpages, social media, communications in international events, online workshops, hackathons, webinars and publications, with 90+ videos available. A strong emphasis was given on open data and standards, connecting with regional GEOs.
NextGEOSS developed a catalogue of data and EO services, accessible online, with a standard, OGC compliant OpenSearch API. Additionally, the Data Hub includes a community feedback and data consistency tools. The Data Hub is operational and harvesting records from 40+ data providers and provides access to 18M+ data records regularly updated.
It also evolved past the initially proposed solutions to include additional services:
- A federated Data Hub with a user friendly Graphical User Interface, and also accessible from the GEOSS Data Portal and Google Dataset Search;
- A set of services, including Data and Service Cataloguing; UM; User Feedback; Cloud Bursting; Data Discovery; Cloud Integration; and Analytics Dashboards.
The NextGEOSS services are available for the external community via a set of online engagement points: Link your Data; Integrate Your Pilot; and Showcase Your Application.
The engagement model of NextGEOSS follows a unique 5-step process: 1) Users Engagement; 2) Data Preparation; 3) Platform Setup; 4) Pilots Integration; 5) Services Operations.
NextGEOSS became very well known and well regarded by the international GEO community, receiving high praise for its technical implementation and success. This has contributed not only to the strong brandname of NextGEOSS, but also to technologic consolidation. By ensuring the sustainability of the NextGEOSS Hub, the NextGEOSS Consortium has also ensured the continuous improvement and consolidation of technologies, planning already further evolutions such as the integration of micro-geoservices.
Engagement activities have contributed to the broader uptake of GEOSS and Copernicus data, with new external pilots integrated. NextGEOSS' communication activities and public events have been devoted to capacity building and to break the barriers on the uptake of EO data from the community.
The pilots have been a major source of feedback for improvement of the NextGEOSS System and respective User Experience in a consensual process of co-design. They were also deeply involved in the definition of the major priorities and evolutions of NextGEOSS and had a central role in the dissemination events and engagement activities.
NextGEOSS system services are involved in many initiatives and projects which are shaping the European Earth observations landscape, including 1) ESA's EO Exploitation Platforms Common Architecture initiative; 2) OGC testbeds; 3) setup and co-chair of an Exploitation Platforms Domain Working Group at OGC, with ESA and NASA; 4) commercially-driven services; 5) re-use and further evolution of services and technologies in ESA's COIH and commercial Triple-A services); 6) setup of a micro-geoservices, with full re-use of NextGEOSS Hub, UM service and the Dashboards; and 7) the participation in ESA's Network of Resources.
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