The CEOS Data Services Team

The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) has supported the Open Data Cube (ODC) initiative to provide a data architecture solution that adds value to its global users and increases the impact of Earth Observation (EO) satellite data. The ODC is an open-source platform for managing satellite data. Over the years, AMA’s CEOS Data Services team in Hampton, VA has consistently demonstrated outstanding teamwork and international collaboration at various levels. Syed R. Rizvi leads AMA’s team that includes Andrew Cherry, Otto Wagner, John Rattz, Andrew Lubawy, Sanjay Gowda, and Shaun Deacon. The team has worked extensively with CEOS through the NASA CEOS Systems Engineering Office (SEO) to develop cutting-edge technologies and analysis capabilities for the international space-based Earth observation community. In 2018 AMA’s CEOS Data Services team played a critical role in the partnership between the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development and Data (GPSDD), the CEOS, Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Government of Kenya, Strathmore University and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) for the launch of the Africa Regional Data Cube (ARDC). The ARDC supports five countries: Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania (photo below). Due to the efforts of this team, CEOS is uniquely able to provide substantial contributions to the ODC and to support global implementations.


AMA’s team at ARDC Training Workshop: Syed Rizvi, Andrew Cherry, Otto Wagner, Sanjay Gowda.

The AMA team tirelessly worked with the CEOS Agencies to promote multi-agency collaborative missions, and these efforts helped users all around the world – especially in the five African countries in 2018. The team built cloud-based software platforms that leveraged their extensive experience of space imaging systems and products to provide significant and far-reaching capabilities to government stakeholders and scientific researchers. The team additionally supported building and deploying computational platforms to assist earth science objectives in various forest preservation initiatives, carbon measurement initiatives, water management, and agricultural monitoring projects that greatly benefited from remote sensing data.


Our ARDC work garnered significant press and media.

Syed R. Rizvi has recently turned the focus of the team towards the development of a series of innovative tools addressing United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6.6.1 (spatial extents of water-related ecosystems), 11.3.1 (ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate), and 15.3.1 (proportion of land that is degraded over total land area). These tools empower users by providing features that will assist with streamlining analysis ready data retrieval, processing, and visualization.  The team joined NASA to conduct a full-day hands-on tutorial on ODC framework at the 2018 IEEE Geosciences and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARRS) conference in Valencia, Spain. The team authored and presented four technical papers at an ODC workshop at the same conference (photo below). 


Syed R. Rizvi (team lead), Andrew Cherry, and Otto Wagner presenting ODC papers at the IGARSS 2018 ODC Workshop, Valencia, Spain.

The team travelled internationally to support deployments in other countries. The team relentlessly worked with internationally acclaimed scientists and policymakers who want to strengthen their countries capacity for early warning of flood/drought, and national and global risk reduction systems. The software products developed by the team have empowered users by providing features that assist with streamlining satellite acquisition file management, data preparation, and image processing to achieve a wide variety of Earth imaging objectives. The team’s active presence in the ODC community, has enabled several projects to flourish. For instance, the ARDC is an excellent example of a big earth observation data architecture built upon open source software and standardized methods. This collaborative initiative is breaking down barriers, driving innovation, and serving as a platform for continued learning and partnerships across many countries (figure below). This initiative will continue to build a strong community of core developers and users to scale the use of the ODC, develop new functionality and take advantage of the lessons learned.


Ghana Illegal Mining detection using the Fractional Cover algorithm that classifies every pixel as a fraction of bare soil (RED), photosynthetic vegetation (GREEN) and non-photosynthetic vegetation (BLUE).

Another example is Switzerland. A national organization in Switzerland is considering a future capacity-building project that may result in two new country-level Data Cubes (Georgia and Moldova) where they will provide the user support for deployment and training. Similarly, the United Kingdom is considering a future capacity-building project that would result in three new country-level Data Cubes (Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Nauru) for climate change monitoring in island states.


The AMA team contributed on the technical design as well as strategic management sides of the ODC framework in a week-long ODC conference held at Canberra, Australia.

AMA’s team has played a vital role in the ODC initiative as a founding partner, along with NASA, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Geoscience Australia (GA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), and the UK Catapult. It is the CEOS SEO’s goal to reach operational Data Cubes in 20 countries by 2020. As of February 2019, there are nine fully operational national-level Open Data Cubes (Australia, Colombia, Switzerland, Vietnam, and the five ARDC countries) and over 50 countries either developing or considering using ODC at national-scale. Since ODC’s inception, the AMA team has been instrumental in supporting ODC by making significant progress in the advancement of open source software tools and algorithms that support the deployment and operation of data cubes on local or cloud computing systems around the world. (Back to News)

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