Data Quality, Geometric Accuracy are Key Topics for 2020 JACIE and ECCOE Workshops

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In a world where observing Earth’s landscapes from space has become more common for government agencies and commercial ventures, there is a question currently getting a lot of attention: Is there a way to make images from all those different and varied systems usable with each other?

When scientists trust the data quality—the validity and accuracy—from all these satellite systems, then the big compute possibilities of a growing global data inventory can unleash ever-expanding opportunities to monitor forests and crops, track disaster recovery efforts, keep track of water use, and forecast fire danger.

JACIE grapic element

It also will enable datasets from all those various systems to be harmonized with data from long-serving and trusted satellites such as Landsat. By utilizing well-defined quality measures, many remote sensing data can be used in what is known as interoperability.

As has been the case for several years now, data quality is a key focus of the 19th annual Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation (JACIE) workshop Sept. 22-24, 2020, in College Park, MD, said Greg Stensaas, a calibration manager for the EROS Cal/Val Center of Excellence (ECCOE) project.

JACIE is a key part of the ECCOE project, said USGS ECCOE Project Manager Cody Anderson. “It provides a venue for the Cal/Val community to dig into the details to help solve the complex issues of data traceability and uncertainty needed by the science community to fully understand and use the measurements from multiple data sources,” Anderson said.

Numerous organizations and agencies are pushing toward using remote sensing datasets together, Stensaas said. Based on that, the conversation from the data quality and JACIE perspective has become, “What are those data quality parameters that need to be provided to ensure that the information is traceable to national standards, with a common definition so that everybody can be on the same page when they’re defining their datasets and their data quality,” he added.

That will be a key conversation at the workshop hosted by JACIE, a consortium of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). JACIE workshops are meant to engage Federal agencies, their partners, and the commercial remote sensing industry with available remote sensing data, research, and assessment results.

The workshop in September will provide opportunities to exchange information not only on data quality, but on calibration, validation, characterization, and the application of civilian and commercial imagery used by the public sector as well. Presenters at the workshop will also provide updates on current and future enhancements to existing sensors, and promote new sensor uses and data products.

Being held alongside the three-day JACIE workshop is the fourth annual ECCOE workshop on Sept. 21, 2020, also in College Park. That workshop will involve an extensive technical conversation focusing on geometric calibration methods and geometric aspects of influencing interoperability between different datasets across multiple scales.

Triangulation image

(Credit: Raj Rengarajan, KBR Contractor to USGS. Public domain.)

Among the important topics to be tackled at that ECCOE workshop are:

  • What are the current capabilities for geometric calibration and characterization?
  • How do these capabilities scale across sensors and systems?
  • What are the current limitations to precision and accuracy?
  • How can interoperability be achieved with a common geometric reference system across wide-ranging scales?

“The key part that we’re looking to cover (in the ECCOE workshop) is ensuring that sensors we are comparing now are all looking at the same spot on the ground,” Stensaas said. “The radiometric uncertainty will get larger if your geometry is not correct, so that’s where the ECCOE workshop is going, trying to establish a discussion on how to get there.”

The deadline to submit abstracts for the JACIE workshop is June 1. To access the “call for abstracts” form, and for more information on the JACIE and related ECCOE workshops, click here.