Project outline

Infrastructures refer to the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy to function e.g. public and private physical assets such as roads, bridges, railways, harbors, pipelines, airports, tunnels, etc. In order to insure their proper functioning, infrastructures together with their close neighborhood environment continuously need to be monitored for changes such as physical damages caused by e.g. aging, weathering, quakes, subsidence and flooding.

In this context, Earth Observation (EO) represents an opportunity for innovative research, applications and information services not only to support the planning of new infrastructure but also to support its continued monitoring.

Nowadays, we are entering into a new era for EO science and applications driven by the continuously increasing observation capacity offered by the EU Sentinel missions, the opportunities for science offered by the ESA Earth Explorer missions and the capabilities to look at the past offered by the existing long-term EO data archives.

Furthermore, a variety of national and commercial EO missions with unique capabilities especially in the domain of very high-resolution deliver highly valuable information on our urban environments and infrastructures.

At the same time, it is clear that for a complete exploitation of the EO Services necessary to satisfy the needs of the industry and public sector, dedicated development efforts are required.

The EO4INFRASTRUCTURE project gives exactly the opportunity to contribute to the reduction of the existing gaps in the infrastructure management sector by demonstrating that EO data, combined with in-situ data as well as other EO derived products e.g. the ones produced by the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS), can provide a real benefit to End Users.

Project objectives

The EO4Infrastructure project is focused on railways. This choice has several motivations here briefly reported. First of all, railway infrastructures represent a strategic sector with a significant economical relevance. The sector is also subject to specific EU regulations, and this fosters the standardization of workflows and best practice among the EU, easing the adoption of standardised EU Copernicus core Services like the future European Ground Motion Service. At the same time the railways End Users are already used to share information and best practices in the many existing EU working groups.

The Copernicus Land Monitoring Service CLMS already makes available a set of EO derived products useful for the monitoring of the European infrastructures, and a new service, the European Ground Motion Service EGMS, is planned to be operational in the next years. The combined use of these assets can greatly improve the quantity and quality of information available to the European infrastructure monitoring systems.

The objective of the EO4Infrastructure project is to demonstrate that the Copernicus Services, combined with other EO derived products and in-situ data, provide a real benefit to the End Users community.

To assure the achievement of such objective, the EO4Infrastructure study-logic follows a fully User-Requirement driven approach, summarized in the following phases:

  • User needs collection and assessment, to understand the effective user needs and consolidate the requirements in a robust and shared structure to be used for the definition of the requirement baseline
  • Technical specifications definition, based on the consolidated requirement baseline, to provide a clear and unambiguous technical description of all the EO products and systems needed to support the user needs.
  • Validation and Demonstration, to critically evaluate the identified solutions in real-life use cases relevant for the End Users. For this reason, End Users are key-actors not only in the “User needs collection and assessment” but also during the part of the project.
User needs collection and assessment

The End Users engagement assures a real and complete knowledge of the information needs of the operational infrastructure monitoring systems. For this reason, user requirements consolidation and requirements baseline definition activities represent a crucial task of the EO4Infrastructure Project. To this respect the Requirement Review Workshop (RRW) is the key event to present the User Requirement assessment and to understand if the Project has been able to understand the effective user needs and consolidate the requirements in a robust and shared structure to be used for the definition of the requirement baseline.