DIGITAL EARTH OBSERVATION INFRASTRUCTURES AND INITIATIVES: A REVIEW FRAMEWORK BASED ON OPEN PRINCIPLES
Keywords: Digital Infrastructure, Earth Observation, Interoperability, Openness, Research Infrastructure, Review
Abstract. Recent years have seen a tremendous increase of digital Earth Observation (EO) infrastructures, which provide web-based environments for accessing and processing data in a highly automated and scalable way. However, the current landscape of EO infrastructures and initiatives is fragmented, with various levels of user on-boarding and uptake success. The current work aims to make sense of this complex landscape by providing two main contributions. First, it offers a classification scheme used to review and analyse more than 150 EO infrastructures and initiatives. Then, adopting a user-centric perspective, the main limitations and obstacles currently faced by users when working with the existing EO platforms are identified. For each of these limitations, we propose a number of good practices that could benefit, from a user point of view, the design and functioning of EO platforms. Some technological enablers, i.e. specific resources (such as software components, standards and data encodings) that emerged from the analysis as holding a great potential for improving the usability of existing EO platforms, are finally listed. The work aims to provide a first scientific insight on how to best design and operate EO platforms to maximise the benefits of their user communities.