Data & Tools

Land tools

Tools used by NCEO researchers for visualising, processing and modelling land processes.

This section depicts a list of resources suitable for visualizing, processing and modelling data for land processes. This collection includes tools for ecosystem and radiative transfer modelling; visualization and processing tools for optical and radar remote sensing data.



Data Visualisation and Processing Tools
This tool is the backend for the NCEO ARD STAC catalogue, which automatically ingests the new satellite images processed on the JASMIN platform and deals with user queries with different filtering criteria. This provides a single URL API for the entire NCEO ARD dataset.
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NCEO ARD browser
This tool is the web map interface to the NCEO Analysis Ready Data (ARD) generated with the SIAC method for Sentinel-2 data. It allows users to easily find and display the Sentinel-2 images over a map and do simple spectral indices over different satellite images.
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ARC (Crop biophysical parameters retrieval from Sentinel 2)
The ARC module, implemented in Python, facilitates the retrieval of crop biophysical parameters from time-series data of Sentinel-2 multispectral reflectance. This module encompasses an archetype model that describes the evolution of crop biophysical parameters over time. By feeding the archetype time series of these parameters to the PROSAIL model, it simulates the hyperspectral reflectance time series. An ensemble-based solver is employed to compute the biophysical parameters by matching the modelled reflectance as closely as possible to the actual Sentinel-2 reflectance.

Contact: Feng Yin (NCEO/UCL)

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PolSARpro (ESA Polarimetric SAR Data Processing and Educational Tool)
Open source tool to process, analyse and visualise multi-polarised Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data acquired by ESA’s missions (e.g., Envisat ASAR, Sentinel-1), Third Party Missions (e.g., ALOS PALSAR, COSMO-SkyMed, RADARSAT-2, TerraSAR-X) and airborne missions (e.g., NASA/JPL AIRSAR, DLR E-SAR). Includes a fully polarimetric-interferometric coherent SAR scattering and imaging simulator on forest (PolSARproSim).

This tool is owned and maintained by a third party

NCEO Contact: Shaun Quegan and Joao Carreiras (University of Sheffield)

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STEP (ESA Science Toolbox Exploitation Platform)
Open source tool to process, analyse and visualise Earth Observation (EO) data from ESA’s missions and Third Party Missions. Developed to provide full support for ESA’s Sentinel missions (e.g., Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3) under a common architecture called Sentinel Application Platform (SNAP).

NCEO advice and support: Shaun Quegan and Jose Carreiras (Sheffield)
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MODIS data acquisition and handling tools
Various python tools for obtaining and carrying out basic staking operations, for MODIS data. Reqiuired in order to (for example) apply linear kernel-driven RT modelling approach to time-series of observations (and for DA). • MODIS downloader: a tool to download batches of MODIS products for a particular time period and geographical area. • UCL MODIS stacker: a Python library that easily creates stacks of data from MODIS reflectance data. Useful for e.g. BRDF fitting or DA applications.

Contact: J. Gomez-Dans (KCL)
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Radiative Transfer Tools
A flexible Python implementation of a vertically inhomogeneous, two-stream radiative transfer model for vegetation canopies. It can be set-up to be physically consistent with other commonly used two-stream models, such as the Sellers model used in land surface schemes like JULES or CLM, or can be used for modelling more complex scenarios, including emission from inside the canopy such as from fluorescence.

Contact: Tristan Quaife (NCEO/Reading)

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An implementation of the Geometric Optic Radiative Transfer model for forest canopies. The canopy is represented as a collection of spheroids of prescribed shape, stem density and leaf area and the model predicts the observed BRFs for arbitrary view-illumination geometry from 400nm to 2500nm. Leaf optical properties are prescribed by Prospect-D.

Contact: Tristan Quaife (NCEO/Reading)

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Three dimensional Radiative Transfer model, developed to simulate vegetation canopy BRDF, albedo, absorption, fAPAR, lidar waveform and photon counting. Associated tools: scripts for coupling with atmospheric model 6s, LUT generation and model inversion, and simulation of sensors (e.g. Sentinel 2/3, MODIS).

Contact: Peter North (Swansea University)

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Gaussian Process RT model emulation tools

Radiative transfer model wrappers in Python for PROSAIL (Verhoef et al.) and DISCRETE/NADIM (Gobron et al.).

Contact: Jose Gomez-Dans (KCL)

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3D Vegetation laboratory

3D EO simulation framework developed via ESA funding as part of the Support to Science Element (STSE). 3DVeglab provides an online toolbox of RT modelling tools to enable simulation of (optical) Sentinel 2, 3 and other sensors, for selected highly-detailed 3D modelled scenes.

The scenes were developed from RAMI simulated (synthetic) model scenes, and from detailed field measurements made at forest sites in Switzerland (Laegeren) and Germany (Tharandt). These measurements included very detailed TLS scans of branches and needles, enabling development of very detailed 3D scene models.

The 3D Veglab toolbox contains 2 different 3D MCRT models, librat developed at UCL and DART developed at CESBIO. 3DVeglab was developed to work as a plug-in module for the ESA BEAM toolkit.

Contact: Mat Disney (UCL)

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RAMI online model checker (ROMC)

Online RT model checking tool, developed as part of Radiative Transfer Model Intercomparison (RAMI) exercise. Provides online interface to standard set of RT model simulations, to allow testing of new RT models against set of ‘most credible’ surrogate truth RT model simulations (e.g. librat).

Users can set up simulation scenarios, and upload model results, and then receive automated checking and certification against ROMC model ‘truth’. Allows a new model to be ‘validated’ in some sense, at least for a limited set of modelling scenarios where the result is known a priori. Developed by team at EU Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy in conjunction with the RAMI team.

Contact: Mat Disney (UCL)

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librat (3D Monte Carlo Ray Tracing Library)

3D Monte Carlo Ray Tracing (MCRT) model, for the optical domain. Widely-used in published work simulating EO reflectance data at a range of scales, as well as time-resolved lidar. Also used as ‘most credible’ surrogate RT models in successive phases of the RAMI exercise.

Code is developed as a stand-alone library of function calls, which can be included in user-developed C code (default) and Python.

Associated tools:

  • fishStart: fisheye simulation wrapper based on librat incorpporating PAI, LAI calculation, and Licor LAI-2000 instrument simulation
  • tls: terrestrial laser scanner simulation tool
Contact: Mat Disney (UCL)
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Modelling Tools

This code implements a Monte Carlo sampler for drawing posterior estimates of land cover from an existing land cover map and its corresponding confusion matrix.

The algorithm is described in Cripps et al. (2013) and its application to GlobCover2009 data in Quaife and Cripps (2016)

Contact: Tristan Quaife (Reading)

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Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) tools: individual tree extraction and modelling

Tools for processing and analysing TLS point cloud data, in particular to extract individual trees from point clouds containing many trees. A series of iterative clustering, filtering and pruning operations carried out to assess the contents of a point cloud for tree objects and then to extract these, automatically. The result of this can then be used in quantitative reconstruction modelling tools.

Contact: Mat Disney (NCEO/UCL)
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ACM is an emulator of the SPA land surface model that computes GPP at daily time-scale as a function of radiation, temperature, Leaf Area Index and atmospheric CO2.

Contact: Luke Smallman (University of Edinburgh)

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DALEC is an ecosystem model that simulates the allocation of GPP and residence time of carbon in 4 vegetation and 2 litter and soil pools.

Contact: Luke Smallman (University of Edinburgh)
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