Icon Space4Cities

Practical example and current challenges

  • The global population is growing, climate change is progressing as well as social and demographic developments require answers.
  • By 2030, 70% of the world population will live in cities. Satellite-based earth observation provides an important information basis for new solutions for sustainable urban and spatial development.
  • Due to freely available satellite data, it is in theoretically possible to capture the dynamics of global urbanization
  • However, German research institutions rely on U.S. American commercial cloud service providers for their analyses and for processing of immense volumes of data.
  • This dependency is not without risk. Should these service providers stop their services, researchers would lose powerful sources of data and tools that are especially designed for processing earth observation data. Furthermore, it is almost impossible for research institutions to protect their intelligent property right in this situation, with data-mining algorithms stored in the clouds of service providers.
  • In order to offer concrete and effective solutions for urban developers and decision makers, it is often necessary to combine and evaluate satellite information with data from public administration. However, access is difficult due to regulatory hurdles in data storage. There is also a lack of suitable interfaces.

What added value does the "GAIA-X project" offer?

  • The project cannot solve the problem of the necessary data storage capacities but can support the linking of different cloud participants within a common ecosystem in which a secure and standardised exchange of (European) data, algorithms, functionalities and results can take place.
  • The real added value lies in the synergistic evaluation of data sets from earth observation and public administration in order to break down data silos and offer tailor-made information for urban development and/or for new digital products and business models (e.g. in the area of the Sharing Economy or local public transport) in compliance with the DSGVO. This contributes to sustainable solutions for the future urban population.
  • Ideally, alternatives could emerge from the ecosystem that would allow data storage also by European providers in order to ensure redundant access to particularly relevant research data. This could also reduce the risk of losing intellectual property.

Use Case Team

  • Dr. Thomas Esch – German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) – German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Julian Zeidler – German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) – German Aerospace Center (DLR)