AquaWatch Pathfinders: Earth Observation Sensor Design Simulator Testbd (End to End Simulator)

For industry to develop new requirements for sensors, it is imperative that industry users are able to understand and demonstrate the specifications of the proposed sensors in relation to their specific use cases. At the current time this is achieved by utilising parameters that have been used in airborne collections or by estimating the requirements from expectations of the use case. This includes, number of spectral bands, width and positioning of bands, spectrum coverage (eg 380 to 1000 nm for aquatic indices; 400-2400nm for vegetation indices, 1000-3000nm for mineral detection), as well as radiometric and spatial resolution. Having a tool that can simulate these requirements and test the sensor trade-off outcomes, provides a capability that will enhance the efficient and cost-effective design of future sensors, tailored to industry requirements as well as empower the value-adding information industry (VAI) to develop appropriate Earth observation algorithms.

A virtual testbed in the form of an end-to-end simulation tool is an essential component of the design process of any new Earth imaging system (CEOS, 2018). These tools in Australia currently consist of ad-hoc compilations of different advanced software packages and their parameterisations spread over research groups. Optimization of sensors requires understanding the effects of instrumental and environmental parameters on the resulting image characteristics, which can be achieved through precise simulation of sensor images. For this purpose, we propose to develop a SmartSat CRC simulation suite for Earth Observation Sensor Design as well as VAI algorithm development and testing. The software enables simulation of satellite EO sensor measurements over most possible variations of aquatic ecosystems, using a range of sensor design specifications, and subsequent simulation of at-earth-surface image products. There are no commercial implementations of this capability as a software suite. The different stages of the processing chain for SmartSat CRC Earth observation (from high altitude platform or satellite) processing chain are depicted below. They comprise a scene simulator and its inversion process which are briefly described in the following.


Project Leader:
Dr Arnold Dekker, SatDek Pty Ltd