The Armenian Data Cube: Innovative Solutions and Successful Collaboration for Environmental Sustainability
The productivity of pasture land, the presence of pollutants, and the impacts of natural phenomena such as erosion or droughts can all be measured remotely using airborne or satellite-based sensors. But dealing with the huge amount of resulting data requires innovative solutions and technical support, which in turn require collaborative partnerships.
The successful cooperation between the Centre for Ecological-Noosphere Studies NAS RA (Ecocenter), the Institute of Informatics and Automation Problems NAS RA (IIAP) and University of Geneva (UNIGE) over the "Data Cube" technology enables the generation of valuable information about the environment in Armenia.
The Armenian Data Cube is a game-changing technology for remote sensing Earth Observation and national-level data visualisation, according to Shushanik Asmaryan, the Head of the Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing Department at CENS. The technology of Data Cube promises continuous remote environmental monitoring that will enable Earth Observation scientists to determine trends, define present conditions, and inform the future.
“We’ll be able to talk about the full benefits when tangible results are achieved. But the main advantage of the national-scale Data Cube is that it encompasses the free national e-infrastructures and Cloud capacities to bring together data, analytical methods and application insights that are essential to promote and accelerate social, economic, and environmental sustainability,” says Shushanik Asmaryan.
CENS and IIAP are partners in ADC4SD – the Armenian Data Cube for Sustainable Development project, which is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. In this project, IIAP supports the storage, organisation, management and analysis of Earth Observation data. CENS and the third partner, the UNIGE, provide the Earth Observation expertise. As the partners are keen to explain, this is a synergistic relationship.
Data Cube technology allows complex data to be explored in a multidimensional way. The Armenian Data Cube, anchored in the Swiss model’s best practices, uses the national e-infrastructure provided by IIAP, which consists of both communication and distributed computing infrastructures, providing a single computing environment where different advanced techniques such as Artificial Intelligence algorithms and High-Performance Computing can be used.
“To transfer the necessary knowledge, it is vital to develop new capacities. This helps to achieve adoption, acceptance, and commitment to this new technology, which will increase the capacity to access and use Earth Observation data,” says Hrachya Astsatryan, IIAP Director.