In September S[&]T won the ESA contract for the Atmosphere Virtual Lab (AVL)!
AVL is a follow-on of the ESA Atmospheric Toolbox projects, or as the dinosaurs among us still like to call it: the BEAT projects. This series of projects is the longest ongoing activity within S[&]T. It started in 2001, just before the launch of the ENVISAT satellite.
The atmospheric toolbox has evolved quite a bit over the past 19 years.
It started as a single software component called 'BEAT' primarily meant for accessing the ENVISAT data from the GOMOS, MIPAS, and SCIAMACHY instruments, which were using a custom binary format.
We then introduced a cross-platform graphical visualization and analysis application based on Python, called VISAN. And over the years, the core data reading library got split off as CODA, which is still used in several S[&]T projects (even non-Atmospheric related), and the remaining BEAT component got refactored to what is now HARP.
In 2018, we welcomed a fourth component to the toolbox, QDOAS, which is an open source retrieval algorithm from our long term partners BIRA, who are also joining in the AVL project. The current toolbox has its own website.
As part of the AVL project we will continue the maintenance and support of the toolbox for ESA, but we will also introduce two new aspects.
The first is the transition of VISAN as the main graphical interface of the toolbox to Jupyterlab. With Jupyterlab we will be able to make the user interface ready for the cloud, which is especially important with the rise of cloud-based Exploitation Services that ESA and the European Commission are launching for dealing with the Sentinel satellite data
The second aspect is the introduction of more educational material for the toolbox. The tutorials section on the toolbox website is rather empty, and we have found our Finnish partners FMI willing to join the project consortium to fill in this gap.
The AVL project is targeted to run for about three years and will start in October 2020. For more information, have a look at the toolbox website.