Fully Automated Aqua Processing Service (FAAPS)

2012-01-16 – 2013-07-10

Floods represent the most devastating natural hazards in the world, affecting more people and causing more property damage than any other natural phenomena. One of the important problems associated with flood monitoring is flood extent extraction from satellite imagery, since it is impractical to acquire the flood area through field observations.

Different end users with different needs in flood situations

There’s a wide range of different end users, who will benefit from such systems, like affected civilians who want to get an overview of the current flood situation, professional users in rescue coordination to professional users in the field and even insurances and re-insurers for usage of real-world flood data in high resolution quality instead of using models for risk calculation. So such a system has to be designed to provide relevant information in different granularity on different devices (e.g. PC’s, laptops, handhelds, smartphones, iPads).

Lack of support in disaster situations

Especially looking at the needs in the field (rescue staff and also citizens) we identified a lack of support with existing systems:

·         Existing Near Real Time monitoring systems are usually based on ground based or airborne data and therefore cannot give a comprehensive picture of current flood situations, especially when it comes to huge floods (e.g. Australia 2011, Pakistan 2010).

·         Current EO based systems cannot provide synoptic European-wide information several times a day.

·         Current EO based systems cannot provide information in near real time, processing of data with a delay of at least 12 hrs is close to worthless in disaster situations.

·         Information is not localized, that means, the provided watermasks are not directly related to the actual position of the user.

For the above mentioned reasons we see a high added value of EO based support of flood monitoring systems, but facing a couple of challenges

Challenges in Near Real Time Earth Observation

Especially when it comes to Near real time providing of information there are two main challenges. The first challenge is to process data within several hours after acquisition. Current systems are usually based on manual intervention which leads to considerable delays between data acquisition and data providing. The second challenge is the NRT data acquisition. These acquisition rates are mainly limited by the visit cycle of satellites and can only be partly increased by programmable ground tracks.

FAAPS - The Fully Automated Aqua Processing Service

Our demonstration project implements a fully automatic processing chain from data acquisition to data provision to the end user without manual interaction. Therefore our solution provides a Water processing service which is able to provide European-wide localized watermasks based on EO data (ENVISAT, future other data sources like e.g. SENTINEL) and Navigation signal (GPS, future GALILEO).

·         The FAAPS Application will be a location based smart phone application to readily display latest flood information on a map background together with the end user’s  position. This enables the possibility for individuals to take pre-cautionary measures more rapidly therefore reducing the likelihood of human and economic loss.

·         The FAAPS professional APP featuring alert information and functionalities will support disaster management teams and allows message feedback from the field thereby informing other users with field based information (not part of this demonstration project).

So our NRT processing service is an essential step for leveraging EO data for disaster management. Assuming an appropriate data acquisition rate, this service will close a critical gap for disaster management teams/civil protection field/emergency response units to enable them to better address and mitigate crisis situations arising during and after heavy flooding. The foreseen possibility of using multiple data sources simultaneously is an additional improvement towards reduction of acquisition time.

High potential for future advanced services

Our solution design will consider future improvements of this service. Topics like distributed data acquisition and storage consider the future change of these services from ENVISAT to other Satellites (e.g. SENTINEL). The provision of the watermask information by different services gives high flexibility for future services. This not only increases the added value for end users in the future but also ensures the sustainability of the service in terms of readiness for future needs.

Addressing major goals of ESA’s IAP program

With FAAPS we go an essential step beyond one single application that provides services in a specific area (flood monitoring). The underlying architecture is designed to implement space based applications also in different areas with reduced effort. This reduction of cost and time to market makes it easier to implement space based services and increases the awareness and added value of space based data. So we are sure to address the major strategic goals of the IAP program.

A Solution based on existing and proven modules

The application will be developed based on proven technologies and as far as possible reuses existing modules. So we reduce risk and also time to market for our service. Improvement and enhancements of these modules developed in this project will be fed back thus preparing the underlying framework for further similar applications.

Build to Cloud

We intend to already take into account the technology challenges (high performance, extreme data acquisition rates, huge data volumes to process - distribute – store, scalability, flexibility, etc.) ESA and industry soon will face once Sentinels become operational. Leveraging our deep knowledge of Cloud Computing and our intense collaboration with leading Cloud providers, we consider building the solution on a cloud platform.

An experienced team of experts

We established an expert team with industry leading subject matter experts from Capgemini Austria, Capgemini Aerospace & Defence, GeoVille and TU Vienna IPF, ensuring the necessary expertise to establish such a service.

End user community

To develop the proposed application we cooperate with a broad end user community, which is commited to support our initiative with their experts.

Capgemini’s ambitions in Austria

We see a high market potential driven by a growing demand of Space down-stream end-user applications. Leveraging this FAAPS project to attract additional end-user applications development based on this Space Application Architecture, is part of Capgemini Austria’s growth strategy.

Strong drive for Austrian Space Community

For Austria, Capgemini sees the possibility to act as a driver for the local space community in terms of establishing cooperations with local organizations (universities, public research) and commercial companies thus leveraging the joint expertise in industrialized software development, infrastructure design and space expertise on all levels.

Project manager

Project members


  • Capgemini Consulting Österreich AG
  • European Space Agency ESA-ESTEC


  • Capgemini Austria
  • GeoVille Informationssysteme und Datenverarbeitung GmbH