THE METHODS WE USE
Complementary remote sensing instruments
High-precision Earth observing instruments mounted on an airborne platform measure the electromagnetic spectrum reflected and emitted from the Earth surface. The complimentary instruments comprise (a) an imaging spectrometer, (b) a multispectral laser scanner, and (c) photogrammetric camera. These sensor systems are interfaced by high precision navigation and position instrumentation for automated data acquisition and geometric processing.
Data acquired by the various instruments are processed to traceable physical units in dedicated processing chains and then assimilated by Earth System models to provide indicators describing the key chemical, biological, structural, geometrical and physical properties of the rapidly changing environment.
Dedicated computing infrastructure
The computing infrastructure will allow the efficient parameterisation of Earth System models. Data analysis, traceability and reproducibility are enabled through consistent metadata including provenance. These will be key to enhance the scientific impact of ARES through open data access. The availability of spatially co-registered, temporally coherent ARES products will enable scientists to explore yet unknown interactions between Earth System processes using big data approaches.
The tight integration of state of the art sensors with sophisticated models through a computing infrastructure will be unique within Switzerland and Europe, delivering world-class data and science output to the Earth System Science community, fostered by a FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) infrastructure with an open access data policy. ARES will be made available to researchers on an international level to optimise the system usage through deployments outside of Switzerland.
The ARES team has to date secured approx. 50% of the required funding for ARES, allowing to implement an imaging spectrometer and the high precision navigation and position instrumentation. The imaging spectrometer is jointly developed with NASA JPL /Caltech under a Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA. With this upgrade proposal, we aim at securing financing for the multispectral laser scanner as well as the photogrammetric camera. This upgrade will ensure that all envisaged sensors and processing chains are in place to reach a full synergy of the complimentary data sources.
ARES - AN INTEGRATED SYSTEM BRIDGING SCALING GAPS
ARES is an integrated research infrastructure to measure terrestrial processes of the Earth system at regional scale. To accomplish this, three major components are seamlessly integrated in an observing system (Figure 1): (a) sensors measuring in the electromagnetic spectrum, turning it into raw data, (b) calibration and modelling processes transforming data into traceable measurements and subsequently into information and knowledge, and (c) an IT infrastructure supporting long-term data storage, data query, processing, analysis and data sharing.
The sensor package is comprised of three high-precision Earth observing instruments mounted on an airborne platform measuring the electromagnetic spectrum reflected and emitted from the Earth surface. The complimentary instruments comprise (a) an imaging spectrometer, (b) a multispectral laser scanner, and (c) photogrammetric camera. These sensor systems are interfaced by high precision navigation, position (NAV/POS) and attitude (IMU) instrumentation for automated data acquisition and geometric processing. The airborne sensor package is complemented with a flight management system (FMS), stabilized power supplies, a thermal control unit (TCU) and exchangeable, redundant storage arrays.
The processing and archiving facility (PAF) handles the processes of calibration, product generation and fusion, validation and modelling of the acquired Earth system data while relying on data management functions of the IT infrastructure for data storage. The PAF supports integrated modelling, allowing assimilation of in situ data and informative priors, thus assisting Earth System approaches via the paradigm of the complete observing system.