Nato has launched a new multiyear Science for Peace and Security Programme project named Cube4EnvSec which aims at exploiting Big Earth Datacube Analytics for transnational security and environment protection. Its consortium continuously grows, and two additional partners have joined: the Centre for Aviation at ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland and Istanbul Aydin University in Türkiye.
A major challenge for the future is to enable continuous monitoring of climate change and establish early warning capabilities to ensure the security and protection of our populations. Rapid environmental changes call for innovative technological approaches. Essentially, organizations like NATO need advanced capabilities allowing geographically distributed joint mission forces.
In Cube4EnvSec a series of relevant use cases are being established proving the capabilities of real-time datacube management, analytics, and federation of fixed and moving data sources and sinks. Among others an aviation weather service has been started offering the integration of highly dynamic weather data (flight hazards as thunderstorms/lightnings and turbulence) up to the Stratosphere with an update frequency moving towards minutes. It should be mentioned here for aviation stakeholders that this information is also available over data-poor regions (Atlantic, Mediterranean).
Now the project will be strengthened and expanded by the Centre for Aviation Zurich University of Applied Sciences. A detailed prediction of parameters relevant for aviation (turbulence, 3D wind, flight hazards) offers enhanced resolution particularly in mountainous regions, based on a high resolution downscaling of existing atmospheric physical models. The trial version - will be implemented in closed cooperation with METAIR in Switzerland. METAIR is a spin-off by alumni of ETH Zurich, with a focus on measurements of anthropogenic and biogenic emission and deposition of Green House Gases (GHG, such as CO2 and CH4) and the detection of ash plumes.
The capability of a substantially improved tactical mission planning of aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) will be significantly increased and adapted to mission pattern relevant parameters (i.e., turbulence, wind shear, icing, volcanic ash); furthermore, dispersion predictions (CBRN), simulation and verification with climate scenario models will be improved. A second important contribution will be made by the new partner Istanbul Aydin University in Turkey which focuses on an Integrated Information System (IIS) for high-risk weather phenomena - such as storm and lightning - under different Climate Change scenarios in Mediterranean areas.
The Web-based service information system will integrate GIS and Remote Sensing technologies which are able to model the effects of different Climate Change conditions. Decision support will be given to local authorities; in addition, critical guidelines on severe weather conditions will be provided.
The underlying technology used in all Cube4Envsec use cases is the rasdaman (raster data manager) Big Datacube engine which is proven, mature, and operational on more than 140 Petabyte of satellite and climate data assets. Based on this platform, the Cube4EnvSec service developed will offer a capability which is relevant to NATO and partner nations in both military and civilian contexts.
de Peel, Fall 2022 - The NATO C-UAS Exercise 2022 centered around drones and counter-drones. One capability demonstration, by DLR and Jacobs University, had a drone fly over an airfield and send down imagery which was fed into a rasdaman datacube in realtime and immediately shown live to the high-ranking audience.
Two capabilities are essential for NATO missions to succeed: first, all units operating off the same map, so sharing the same situational picture, and second, every such unit getting the right data at the right time, and in the right shape.
The C-UAS (Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Technical Interoperability Exercise 2022 (TIE'22) organized by NATO was executed this Fall 2022 at the Lieutenant General Best Barracks in The Netherlands. The Cube4EnvSec project was invited to demonstrate ad-hoc federated mix-and-match and integration of moving data sources into the analytics service, with a focus on aviation. Data acquired live and merged encompassed a DLR drone delivering one image per second, Copernicus Sentinel data from Mundi DIAS, and German Weather Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD) aviation weather data like wind, temperature, icing, and turbulence. The common information turnpike was provided by the rasdaman datacube engine. "For Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) scenarios, datacubes open up completely new perspectives in availability and usability of all the Big Data sitting around", explains Peter Baumann, Cube4EnvSec project lead.
The Cube4EnvSec project has set out to demonstrate the value of datacubes as a unifying paradigm for all raster data in domains of environmental monitoring, climate change, and security. The project is funded by the Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme of NATO. "Cube4EnvSec is a prime example of how NATO can mobilise the best expertise and knowledge of the scientific community to make a crucial difference", assesses Dr. Jamie Shea, former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO Headquarters.
"The new generation of high-resolution, 1 to 10 cm imagery enables the quality and accuracy of procedures such as change analysis for airfields on unstable ground like thawing permafrost, flood simulations, Harbour security in case of sea level rise or land slide risk”, adds LtCol Rene Heise, former Section Head at the NATO Allied Command Operations and member of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change.
Rapid environmental changes due to climate change call for innovative technological approaches. NATO has started a new project exploiting Big Earth Datacube Analytics for Transnational Security and Environment Protection. The multi-national kick-off meeting in Brussels demonstrates encouraging efforts.
The Sixth Climate Change Assessment Report IPCC published this year points at changes in extremes such as heat waves, heavy precipitation, droughts and tropical cyclones, nowadays registered every month. Cube4EnvSec is a new multi-year NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) project which will demonstrate how datacubes can contribute to agile insights on Big Earth Data for observing natural and human-made threats of any kind, combining ground, space, and airborne sources ad-hoc and in real-time. "Cube4EnvSec is a prime example of how NATO can mobilise the best expertise and knowledge of the scientific community to make a crucial difference", assesses Dr. Jamie Shea, former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO Headquarters.
A series of relevant practical use cases will demonstrate these capabilities. The current non-exhaustive list includes real-time data fusion of on-board aircraft and vessel data sources with large-scale Copernicus satellite archives; thunderstorm warning for aviation; harbor protection and natural resource monitoring over Greenland. "The new generation of high-resolution, 1 to 10 cm imagery enables the quality and accuracy of procedures such as change analysis for airfields on unstable ground (thawing permafrost), flood simulations, harbour security in case of sea level rise or land slide risk”, adds LtCol Rene Heise, former Section Head at the NATO Allied Command Operations and member of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change.
The project utilizes the leading datacube technology, rasdaman, for the sharing of Big Earth Data, with special emphasis on timeseries support, location-transparent federation, and dynamic distributed data fusion across fixed and moving sources. "We aim at unleashing and showcasing the benefits of massive space/time federated datacubes as a particular enabler for better understanding our planet", explains project coordinator Dr. Peter Baumann, Professor of Computer Science in Bremen, Germany. Cube4EnvSec partners are Jacobs University (Germany, lead), Tel Aviv University (Israel), and Greenland Institute of National Resources (Greenland/Denmark); further international partners who have expressed an interest to join. LtCol Rene Heise from NATO-HQ acts as Scientific Advisor.
The Cube4EnvSec project is supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) program, with a runtime from May 2022 through October 2023.