vires.services launched

VirES for Swarm – the latest offspring from our geospatial web technology workbench. The online tool lets you dive into the most up-to-date and accurate science of the Earth’s magnetic field.

The operational service launches officially today at https://vires.services. The public announcement has gone out to the participants of the Living Planet Symposium 2016 held these days in Prague, CZ.

The VirES initiative builds on an awesome lot of talent, both on the customer as well as the developer/operator team sides. VirES for Swarm is required and implemented by the Earth Observation Directorate of the European Space Agency (ESA) and designed and operated by EOX. As project manager at EOX I would like to say big thanks to all who contributed.

We are proud to present today a highly interactive data manipulation and retrieval interface for the data shots taken by the magnetometers flying on a constellation trio of satellites named the ESA magnetic field mission Swarm.

In spite of the complexity of the science, the satellite orbital dynamics, the multi-dimensional analysis functionality, etc. the tool impresses due its simplicity of use. Citizen scientists are welcome to join as users just like the academic and professional workers in the field of geophysics and geomagnetics.

We have implemented a world map and powerful analytics panel through which differentiated magnetic characterizations (models) provided by the world’s leading geomagnetists can be compared with the Swarm satellite measurements at given solar activity levels.

I should better let the application engineers explain the details (see Daniel’s blog), but I feel like a few extraordinary things deserve highlighting here:

  • The VirES Globe is the coolest utilization of the Cesium – WebGL Virtual Globe and Map Engine, which I am aware of;
  • The VirES Analytics (scatterplot and histogram) filter and visual feedback panel is unprecedented in Earth observation data exploitation/mining;
  • Not obvious to end users because working invisibly behind the scenes is the powerful EOxServer framework which was largely enhanced to cope with VirES requirements (handling Swarm product formats; super-fast harmonics forward expansion model calculations);
  • The Open Source and Standards credo of EOX has been fully respected for VirES and all code is publicly available on GitHub. Note that community contributions are invited.

Finally, just to mention a few of the many necessary steps and measures performed to evolve from prototype system to operational service:

  • Continuous testing and deployment set-up;
  • Multiple-server operations, failover, and load balancing configuration;
  • OAuth authentication with major social providers.

The success of this release will not lead to laziness on our side. We are already going full speed with the implementation of further enhancements and next releases, couple of hundred items we are having in mind. Stay tuned and check back for announcements.

VirES, an operational proof-of-concept for future
Virtual Research Environments in geoscience.