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Executive Summary of Report on Earth Observation Data Resources of China (2019)

Lianchong ZhangBlog post by Lianchong Zhang (WDS-ECR Network Representative on the WDS Scientific Committee)

Earth Observations (EOs) are fundamental data resources that have many important applications. The National Earth Observation Data Center (NODA) and the ChinaGEOSS Data Sharing Network have jointly released a biennial Report on Earth Observation Data Resources of China (2019), using survey data up to the beginning of 2019, to comprehensively grasp the dynamic status of China’s EO data resources and promote their application both within China and globally.

The Report collected relevant data through 113 questionnaires submitted by Chinese EO observation organizations, including government departments, institutions that operate satellites, spatial information enterprises, universities, and research institutes, in addition to other groups in the geospatial sector associated with the acquisition, management, services, and applications of EO data in China. The questionnaire surveyed these organizations about the production, distribution, and applications of China’s EO data resources to obtain first-hand information that enabled an analysis of the development of such data resources. The analytic results are presented below.

EO Satellite Platforms
Since 24 April 1970—when China launched its first man-made EO satellite ‘Dong Fang Hong I’—to the end of 2018, greater than 200 orbiting satellites have been launched, including about 60 EO satellites. During this time, a number of EO satellite systems have been built, such as ’Feng Yun’ (which consists of 17 meteorological satellites), ’Hai Yang’ (6 ocean satellites), ’Zi Yuan’ (10 land resource satellites), ’Gao Fen (7 high-resolution EO satellites), ’Huan Jing’ (3 satellites for monitoring the environment and disasters in China), and ’Tian Hui’ (3 high-resolution, three-dimensional mapping satellites), as well as other commercial satellites (8+ satellites). There are also various types of Chinese EO remote sensors; panchromatic, multispectral, hyperspectral, optical, and radar in orbits such as sun-synchronous and geosynchronous. Overall, they form an EO system with diverse spatial, temporal, and spectral resolutions.

EO Organizations
About 67% of EO organizations in China were established between the years 2000 and 2015, about half of them are located in Beijing, and greater than one-third are commercial enterprises. Over half of the organizations have 300+ staff members, and about a quarter of them have annual budgets exceeding10M USD.

EO Data Resources
China has entered the era of Big EO Data, with a total volume approaching 100 PB and comprising greater than 29 PB of data stored online and greater than 68 PB offline. By the end of 2018, three Chinese EO organizations held over 10 PB of archived data, and another eleven held between 1 and 10 PB.

EO Data Infrastructure
The total data storage capacity of facilities within China’s EO organizations is 263 PB, with the storage available for remote disaster recovery exceeding 95 PB. The total capacity of online storage devices exceeds 95 PB, and the capacity of offline devices is over 168 PB. Relevant organizations have also established their online computing capacity of more than 30,000 trillion floating-point calculations per second.

EO Data Services
Over 300,000 online users are registered to Chinese EO organizations. Almost half of the organizations have registered users from overseas; 12% of such organizations provide an annual data service volume that exceeds the PB-level and 55% above a TB-level. Organizations are split almost equally between those offering free and open sharing services to users and those selling data products.

The official Report is in Chinese. An English version of the Executive Summary is available through the following link on the ChinaGEOSS website: