OTB news : version 6.0 and User days : 7-9 June, Toulouse

OTB version 6_0 is out ! It includes many improvements (including an unsupervised machine learning framework), and adopts a new, more permissive licence : Apache v2.0

My colleagues in charge of the Orfeo Toolbox Development (OTB) are organizing the annual user

meeting in Toulouse town center : June 7-9 2017. Here is the program :

  • Day 1: Plenary session (general presentations from the OTB Team and the users)
  • Day 2: Technical session (tutorial, work groups)
  • Day 3: Hackfest (adopt an OTB developer, code a amazing feature, fix a bug)

If interested, please have a look to the the webpage and register.

MUSCATE news : release of Madagascar Sentinel-2 L2A data

After a good period with very little production incidents, our Muscate facility has had a tough period, which almost halted the production for one week. Until last week, the Muscate ground segment was running on CNES older cluster, and was just using the new cluster's bay of disks to store the input and output data. The access to the bay was made through the network and slowed the processing. Last week, we moved Muscate to the new cluster, and also moved physically one of the computers we are using : this brought us a few surprises that took more time than expected.


Muscate is now running on the new cluster : it has its own reserved computing nodes, and a dedicated facility for the scheduler. The result is that the processing of a L2A product with MAJA now only takes 23 minutes on average, while it used to be 50 minutes before. All the teams who did that migration, handling the development of Muscate, its exploitation, or the cluster facility, deserve acknowledgement !

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Issue with Firefox 53 on Theia distribution server

We recently figured out that the Theia distribution server is not fully compatible with the most recent version of Firefox (V53), and that the authentication fails, preventing from downloading products with that version. The teams are working to solve this, but meanwhile, please wait before updating your firefox browser.

Nous nous sommes récemment aperçus que le serveur de distribution Theia n'est pas compatible avec la nouvelle version de Firefox. L'authentification plante, et il n'est donc pas possible de télécharger les données avec cette version. Les équipes techniques cherchent à résoudre ce problème, mais en attendant que le problème soit résolu, ne mettez pas à jour votre navigateur !


Sentinel-2 adds colors to the 2017 super bloom in California

Texas had the super bowl in 2017 but California got the super bloom!


After its worst drought in 1,200 years, California is now experiencing one its wettest year. The Sierra Nevada snowpack is currently one of the biggest ever recorded. In February, severe winter rainfalls caused the evacuation of many California residents under the threat of the Oroville Dam failure.


Now, this unusual level of rainfall triggered the blossoming of flowers that were in a dormant state. The Washington Post collected some photographs and noted that it was so so massive that you can see it from space (images were provided by Planet, a California-based remote sensing company).


How does it look like in Sentinel-2 imagery? Below is the comparison between two Sentinel-2 images acquired in spring 2016 vs. spring 2017 near the Carrizo Plain National Monument (see by yourself in the sentinel-playground).


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Last Sunday's snow cover map from Sentinel-2

We know that fast distribution of satellite products is critical for many applications, including the planning of your next weekend.


Olivier just announced that Theia is now delivering Sentinel-2 Level 2A data in near real time. This is great because today I was able to make the snow cover map of the Pyrenees on Sunday at 20-m resolution.


The L2A image was actually published on Tuesday afternoon so I could have posted this snow map two days ago.

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MACCS, renamed MAJA, now distributed as binary for non-commercial use

I have already mentioned that CNES teams working on MACCS cloud screening and atmospheric correction software and DLR teams working on ATCOR, decided to join their efforts to build a common software, named MAJA which stands for MACCS-ATCOR Joint Algorithm. And thankfully, a funding from ESA helps a lot this initiative.


The MAJA code relies on MACCS architecture which is designed to use multi-temporal criteria, but the successive MAJA versions will progressively include several features coming from ATCOR which did not exist in MACCS or were less elaborated and accurate.


We just released MAJA V1.0 which includes a few improvements (an enhanced mono-temporal mask coming from ATCOR has been included, as well as a modification of the estimation of water vapour). MAJA V1_0 is in fact just a little evolution compared to MACCS latest versions. MAJA V2.0 will include a directional correction (coming from CESBIO team), and a correction of cirrus clouds, that comes from DLR.  V1_0 version is now being integrated to Muscate, and it will soon run on our platform, while V2_0 should be delivered to CNES this week.


But the main news related to that is the fact that MAJA is now distributed as a binary code for linux Platforms RedHat and Cent OS versions 6 and 7 only. MAJA is distributed on CNES free software platform, and you will have to accept a licence and provide your email address. The licence is granted for non commercial use only. If you would like to get an extension of this licence for commercial use, please ask CNES.

MAJA tutorial page on github

MAJA was developed to process time series, if you only want to process a few images, please use SEN2COR. Given the size of Sentinel-2 images, MAJA is not meant to run on a laptop, it needs really serious computer resources, fast drives and processors, and several Gigabytes of Memory. I also have to stress that MAJA is not easy to use, and that solid knowledge in computers, linux, python might be necessary. MAJA also needs several stages of data preparation, including specific DTM generation.

Tutorial pages

A few beta-users are now testing the installation procedures. The first feedback is that the users often do not read the documentation carefully ;) . I strongly urge you to read the document provided in the package ! I have written a tutorial page on Github, and I hope you will manage to use it. In case of any problem, please do not comment here or send me an email, use the support address : maja-support@cnes.fr or add an issue to the github tutorial platform.




10000 L2A products available at Theia for Sentinel-2

The number of L2A products from Sentinel-2 available at Theia, just passed above 10 000 ! Data from France, Belgium, North of Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, the Burkina-Mali transect, or La Reunion Island are now processed in real time : our requirement is 60 hours, after the data is available in Copernicus hub. Next site to be added is Madagascar.


Le compteur de produits de niveau 2A de Sentinel-2, disponibles à Theia, vient de passer la barre des 10 000 produits. Les données acquises par Sentinel-2 sur la France, la Belgique, le Nord de l'Espagne, la Tunisie, le Sénégal, le transect Burkina Mali, et l'île de la Réunion sont maintenant traitées en temps quasi réel : notre spécification est de les mettre à disposition en moins de 60 heures après leur apparition sur les serveurs du hub de Copernicus. Le prochain site couvrira une bonne partie de Madagascar.