ESA and its Member States created the Sentinel Collaborative Ground Segment (CollGS) to further enhance the Sentinel missions exploitation in various areas. Today, the cooperation is also open to all European countries and Copernicus Participating States.
Besides the challenging task of building and launching a satellite, a key indicator of the success of an Earth observation mission relies on ensuring that the data gathered are of good quality and made easily available to users.
These functions are all ensured by the Copernicus Space Component (CSC) Ground Segment.
The Sentinel Collaborative Ground Segment complements the Copernicus Ground Segment. This entails additional elements for specialised solutions in different technological areas, such as data acquisition, complementary production and dissemination.
But what does the CollGS do, exactly?
- National entities can build-up their own mirror data archive and base operational services on Sentinel data. Participating countries then redistribute the Sentinel data and/or value added products from their “mirror sites”, to institutional, commercial and science users.
- Many mirror sites in place are now also adding hosted processing to their services.
- If technically required to meet data timeliness obligations, local ground stations are configured to listen-in as Sentinel data is downlinked to core ground stations. This allows for quasi-real time product generation as, for instance, in supporting marine surveillance activities in the Baltic Sea.
- Furthermore, in the frame of the CollGS, national initiatives carry out the development of innovative tools and applications.
Canada, which is an associate ESA Member State, operates extremely important land and maritime monitoring activities, with C-CORE and other organisations. Having established a CollGS agreement, they can access the Sentinel products via a data hub operated by ESA and dedicated to collaborative partners.
Shahid Khurshid, Physical Scientist at Meteorological Service of Canada, and Matt Arkett, Acting Manager of Earth Observation and Geomatics, at Environment and Climate Change Canada, said: “Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Operational National SAR Winds (NSW) system provides near real-time delivery of marine wind measurements derived from spaceborne synthetic aperture Radars (SAR) to support marine forecasters & other applications.
“The programme has been operational since 2013, ingesting SAR data from the RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2 missions. The NSW system began to generate operational surface wind maps using Sentinel-1A data in April 2016 and Sentinel-1B in September 2016.
“Access to Sentinel-1 data has significantly increased the temporal and spatial frequency of marine wind speed information being delivered to our operational marine forecasters.