Mankind is more and more confronted with the consequences of the climate change such as the recent obvious increase of natural disasters like typhoons and flash floods. The crucial task of the Earth Science with high social relevance is therefore to provide a better understanding of these processes endangering the planet. Important for this are observation, modelling and prediction of the manifold and complex Earth system.
The exploitation of Global Navigation Satellite Systems signals for Remote Sensing (GNSS-RS) provides an innovative, cost-effective, and versatile tool for Earth system observation. The GNSS-RS includes reflectometry, radio occultation, and ground-based sounding techniques that can be used to monitor the atmosphere, ionosphere, cryosphere, oceans, and land with high spatiotemporal resolution on a global scale. The number of GNSS receivers for Remote Sensing in regional and global ground networks, as well as aboard small satellites and CubeSat constellations, is rapidly increasing. These numerous sensors currently generate a huge amount of observation data, which have to be analyzed and effectively used in geophysical models to characterize the Earth system and its evolution like never before. This task can only be optimally solved by a synergetic combination of GNSS-RS with innovative, advanced and interdisciplinary Data Science (DS) tools.
The Data Science methods are all the mathematical processes, algorithms, and systems to optimally extract the required geophysical information from the GNSS data. They specifically include (but are not limited to): statistical analysis, data fusion, homogenization, assimilation, and machine learning. Recent large investments in Data Science activities both in academia (e.g., the European Commission’s Program “Destination Earth”) and industry, encourage and facilitate the development and application of DS tools for GNSS-RS.
The German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ in Potsdam, Germany, has been actively together with the international community, driving forward the GNSS-RS techniques. Integrating Data Science was an important part of these activities. Therefore, GFZ will bring together for the first time the GNSS Remote Sensing and Data Science experts to foster these innovative and interdisciplinary developments in Earth Science at one of the most historical geophysical research institutes.