The document outlines the implementation, packaging, and deployment of cross-cloud EO Applications – A step forward for greater efficiency and bringing the ‘user to the data.'

OGC Publishes Best Practice for Earth Observation Application Packages - EO imagery of the The Lena River, Russia

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has published Best Practice for Earth Observation Application Package. The new OGC Best Practice is a guide for developers that wish to package and deploy Earth Observation (EO) Applications for a selected Exploitation Platform.

An EO Exploitation Platform is a collaborative virtual work environment that provides, through one coherent set of standard interfaces, the mechanisms to deliver applications and access the EO data, and the ICT resources required to work with them. For an overview of the concept, and OGC's contributions to it, see the article published in GeoConnexion Magazine entitled An app store for Big Data by OGC's Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Dr. Ingo Simonis.

The newly published Best Practice Document serves as a guide for the implementation, packaging, and deployment of EO Applications. It supports developers that want to adapt and package their existing algorithms written in a specific language for deployment in ready-made Earth Observation Exploitation Platforms and have the applications exposed through an interface that conforms to the OGC API - Processes Standard.

“OGC has released the Best Practice for Earth Observation Application Package as a guide for application developers to ensure portability of their EO Application Packages across different cloud infrastructures,” said Günther Landgraf, Head of Digital Platforms at the European Space Agency (ESA) and co-author of the document. “A first open source implementation of the interoperability middleware that allows execution of such compliant applications is available from EOEPCA, and is going to be available as an industrially operated platform service on the most significant cloud environments hosting EO data.”

In order to foster the usage of EO data and expand the market of EO-derived information, Platforms for the Exploitation of EO data have been developed by both public and private organizations. This domain comprises platform providers, service providers who use the platform to deliver a service to their users, and data providers. The availability of free and open data (e.g. Copernicus Sentinel), together with the availability of affordable computing resources, has created an opportunity for the wide adoption and use of EO data in a growing number of fields.

A fundamental principle of the EO Exploitation Platform operations concept is to move users of EO data processing services near to the data and tools, as opposed to downloading, replicating, and exploiting data ‘at home.' Furthermore, the platforms offer an environment that takes care of all data processing orchestration tasks while the availability of scalable computational resources offered by the Cloud providers shortens the time-to-market of applications.

The architecture defined by the OGC Earth Observation Applications Pilot, and documented in the Best Practice for Earth Observation Application Package, decouples application developers from exploitation platform operators and from application consumers; allows application developers to make their applications available on a number of platforms with minimal modifications; allows application developers to focus on application development by minimizing platform specific particularities; and enables exploitation platforms to virtually support any type of packaged EO application.

The Best Practice document was borne from work in OGC Testbeds 13 through 16, as well as the OGC Earth Observation Applications Pilot, which were conducted under OGC's Innovation Program. OGC's Innovation Program is a collaborative, agile, and hands-on prototyping and engineering environment where sponsors and OGC members come together to address location interoperability challenges while validating international open standards. To learn about the benefits of sponsoring an OGC Innovation Program Initiative such as this, visit the OGC Innovation Program webpage, or watch this short video on how OGC's Innovation Program can benefit your organization.

To keep up-to-date with, or contribute to, OGC's standardization efforts surrounding EO Exploitation Platforms, join the OGC Earth Observation Exploitation Platform Domain Working Group (DWG). OGC Domain Working Groups are open to OGC Members and non-members alike. OGC Members can join the DWG directly using the OGC Portal. Non-members, please contact OGC to join.

The OGC Best Practice for Earth Observation Application Package document is available for free from the OGC Best Practice page on


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