Geographical Information System for Satellite Payload Operation (SCM-GIS)

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The activity is to clarify the conditions necessary for the development of a software module which offers the possibility for communication satellite payload operation to correlate spatial information from the ground segment with the space segment. This should be done through spatial analyses and through using interactive maps with different layers. These activities result in a set of requirements for software which should be developed at a later stage in the ESA ARTES 34 program.

The proposed final product will support the operator with visualizations and spatial analyses to recognize complex situations and assist him to analyze and solve problems.

The goal of the activity is to clarify:

  • The conditions necessary for development of a software module which offers the possibility to combine the information from ground stations to the satellite radio channels using interactive maps with different layers in near real time,
  • Usability of the SCM-GIS software,
  • Use cases for SCM-GIS,
  • Connectivity with carrier monitoring on the GUI and the database level,
  • Integration of weather information (actual weather and forecast up to 72h),
  • Display of sun outage oval on the map,
  • Integration of workflows for satellite operators (ILS or ASI),
  • Footprint pointing monitoring.

These research activities results in a set of information like requirements as a base for a software developed under the ESA ARTES34. The proposed new software will support the operator by visualization and spatial analyses to recognize complex situations and assist him to analysis and solve problems and will become essential in all business processes of integrated satcom management.

The goal of the proposed activity is a design, architecture and specification of a software module giving the possibility to connect the information from the uplink system to the RF carrier and from the carrier to the respective uplink station using maps with different layers.

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The challenges of the project are:

  • Development of the spatial database for SatCom integration of a carrier monitoring system with SCM-GIS,
  • Integration of current and forecast weather data,
  • Display of sun-outage on the map,
  • Display and analyses of alarms of the SCM on maps,
  • Spatial analyses for SatCom like adjacent,
  • Satellite interference or interference localisation,
  • Display of footprints, earth stations and elevation with different depth of information on the map and data grid for further analyses.

The quality of SatCom depends on the geographical position of the sending and the receiving station, their actual environment (e.g. weather) and also on the position of the satellite and the characteristics of corresponding footprint. Satellite carrier monitoring is traditionally focused on looking at the radio frequency without the use of interactive maps or the help of spatial analysis in the back ground.

The advantage of a combination of carrier monitoring and spatial correlation for satellite operators offers the operator and the management of a satellite operator the complete picture of the operations and the services they offer at one glance. In addition to the conventional carrier monitoring systems, spatial analyses and interactive maps allow the operators a set of very new possibilities to apprehend the correlation between problem effected locations (or areas / zones) and problem effected carriers.

Increasingly, system operation managers turn to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for their analytic and visualization tools that allow them to analyse complex situations and make better decisions.

Geographical information (GI) is becoming the base for new decision support tools used in all business processes of integrated communication management.


The SCM-GIS is built around Geographical Information System (GIS) software and a spatial database as the main components. Side by the SCM-GIS the satellite carrier monitoring system (SCM) as a of the shelve product, is connected on the graphical user interface (GUI) and on the database (DB) level.

The GIS and the SCM software is based on client server architecture so that on the SCM-GIS workstation both clients are running and are connected via interface to exchange data. This makes an easy switching between the GUIs possible and the operator is working on one integrated surface.

Data and maps can also be displayed on the satellite payload operation centre visualisation wall. The external data (Weather and open street map (OSM) are connected to the GIS DB to be integrated and analysed with measurement data from the SCM and spatial data from satellites and earth stations.

Administration of the SCM-GIS and enhanced spatial analyses are done on a separated workstation what is connected to the main SCM-GIS system.

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The project kicked off in May 2012:

PRR in 06 2012
CDR in 03 2012
AR in 07 2012
FR in 09 2012

Current status

The project is completed.

Prime Contractor