Destination Earth


Quick links
Abbreviations and acronyms


An action, information product, or service (including consultancy), which makes use of one or more DestinE DT services or output as an input.

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is the capacity of an algorithm to assimilate information to perform tasks that are characteristic of human intelligence, such as recognizing objects and sounds, contextualizing language, learning from the environment, and problem solving.

Data Bridge
A Data Bridge is part of the DestinE data lake and provides an interface to the DestinE DT data. Bridges consist of:
- a software stack which provides a unified API towards the other DestinE elements;
- dedicated compute capabilities on which the software stack is implemented;
- dedicated data storage capabilities (data warehouse).

A cloud-ready application is a software program that has been designed and developed to run on a cloud computing infrastructure

A natural or legal person with whom a procurement contract has been signed.

Coordinated definition and implementation of a DestinE technical capability, Use case, Application or Service between individual or all of the DestinE Entrusted Entities and Users or contractors.

Data Adaptor
Data Adaptors are the core element of the software stack of a data bridge which build the Harmonised Data Access. The adaptors must be specifically configured to the source data, services and infrastructure, taking into account the respective APIs or other access methods, user authentication, data structure, etc.

Data Holding or Data store
Data Holding denotes external to DestinE infrastructure or services, which provide data of relevance for DestinE.

Data Warehouse
Part of Data Lake that contains and provides access to structured data, ready to be used in the frame of a Digital Twin, and/or being output from a Digital Twin referenced, and available for user retrieval.

DestinE Beneficiaries
Institutions or individuals using decision support tools that build on output of the DT or output of downstream applications of DestinE Users. This category also includes institutions or individuals who rely on advice drawing on DestinE output, e.g., ministries or administrations at local level.

DestinE Core Service Platform (DESP)
Web entry point to DestinE providing evidence-based policy and decision-making tools, Digital Twin simulation capabilities and interfaces to DestinE Data Lake and selected Digital Twin Engine functionalities. It is based on an open, flexible, federated, scalable and evolvable secure cloud-based architecture. The platform will connect to existing and future HPC as well as multi-cloud computing.

DestinE Data
Timely, primary Earth-system monitoring and prediction system output as provided by thematic DestinE Digital Twins, applications and services.

DestinE Data Lake
The DestinE Data Lake is the self-standing system component, built from geographically distributed physical elements, that references and provides access to all user data being available from external sources (i.e. data holdings or data stores) or generated by the DestinE Digital Twins.

The DestinE Data Lake holds the pool of data, building on the federation of distributed data holdings (see harmonised data access) and the Data Warehouse. The Data Lake makes available the complete set of source data and derived data, which are necessary to be used within the boundaries of a DT.

The DestinE Data Lake is hence built on the federated interconnection of all relevant data holdings and constitutes the primary interface to the DestinE Digital Twins through the digital twin engine and provides stable services towards end users.

DestinE Digital Twin Engine (DTE)
The computing and data handling workflow of DTs based on Earth observation data inversion, data assimilation and numerical modelling. The DTE provides a common system approach to a unified orchestration of Earth-system simulations requiring large-scale HPC resources and the fusion of observations with models. It provides compute, maintenance and software infrastructure tools, interfaces, and defines standards for (inter-)connecting DTs, and standard interfaces to the Core Service Platform and the Data Lake. It assists in the modelling, data production, and data processing through standardized software access tools & interfaces.

DestinE User
Institutions or individuals interacting with DESP, DEDL and/or a DT, thus exploiting DestinE capabilities, output products or services to achieve their objectives. These may include researchers, agencies implementing policies, or more generally civil society (companies, media, NGO, etc.).

DestinE user institutions ingest DestinE output data for further processing in their own applications. These are typically expert users, e.g. in research, national hydro-meteorological services or environment agencies.

According to the DestinE Contributing Agreement, “DestinE is initially aimed at professional public sector users [policy users] but is planned to evolve to encompass a wider user base including the scientific communities and the private sector”.

DestinE System
System composed of the Core Service Platform (DESP), the Data Lake (DEDL), and the Digital Twin Engine (DTE) components.

Digital Twin(s) (DT)s
Actionable digital representation of a physical system (for DestinE: in the context of an Earth system approach to Extremes and Climate adaptation) that simulates the system behaviour at temporal and spatial scales relevant to decision-making in target sectors. A Digital Twin combines Earth-system models and Earth observations as well as advanced data analytics to monitor and predict environmental change, test scientific hypotheses and help to define adaptation scenarios. A DT is a self-standing DestinE system component offering a seamless production service of actionable knowledge for users that results from the fusion of observational and simulated data (from the physical Earth system to the impacts of change on relevant assets). Users will be able to interact with digital twins at different levels: where primary simulation-observation data are generated and combined, where such data can be accessed and upgraded with user specific models, tools and data to create user specific information, and where such information is turned into decision and policy making.

Digital Twin Software Suite (DTSS)
The Digital Twin Software suite is a suite of modelling and data processing software used by the Digital Twin Engine to run simulations.

End-user applications & services
User-driven service provisioning through (a) platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for access to resources for application and service development and to create users’ own work environments and adding data, and (b) software-as-a-service (SaaS) for “consuming” the functionalities of the digital twins as dedicated services through well-defined interfaces and APIs, with a potential evolution into a digital-twin-as-a-service (DTaaS).

Entrusted Entity
Entities entrusted by the European Commission with the implementation of Destination Earth by means of Contribution Agreements, i.e. ECMWF, ESA and EUMETSAT.

Entrusted Tasks
Tasks entrusted by the European Commission to ESA to implement Union funds under the condition of indirect management in accordance with Article 62(1)(c) of the EU Financial Regulation.

Harmonised data access
Harmonised Data Access is the logical function utilised by the Data Lake to represent a unified API and harmonised access to distributed data to the users. Data adaptors are the essential element in the provision of a harmonised interface for the user to data since they facilitate such data access to federated, distributed, diverse and heterogeneous data holdings. The harmonised data access is the core function building the data lake and data warehouse.

HPC infrastructure
HPC Infrastructure denotes distributed, scalable HPC and data handling resources, which offer extreme-scale simulation and observational data generation and processing capability. The HPC Infrastructure in DestinE builds on EuroHPC and European National resources, and contributes to federating European HPC and data handling infrastructure resources connected through GEANT.

Impact Sector
Policy domain in which the outputs of the DT are expected to enhance the ability to predict the effects of different policy scenarios or support the implementation of policies. Possible impact sectors include, for example, water management, agriculture and forestry, renewable energy management, air quality management, urban development, maritime or air transport, biodiversity protection, disaster risk mitigation, and climate impact assessments.

Industrial Contract
A contract, purchase order or work order signed between the Contractor and ESA under which the Contractor provides services, supplies, or works for the implementation of the Entrusted Tasks, and any amendments thereto.

Key Performance Indicators
Indicators which serve for monitoring, reporting and calibrating purposes as well as for assessing the respective benefits realisation process and outcome.

Machine learning
Machine learning, is a field of statistical research for training computational algorithms that split, sort and transform a set of data to maximize the ability to classify, predict, cluster or discover patterns in a target dataset. It is fundamentally a data-driven approach.

Models are (typically large) software applications that represent different aspects of the Earth system. Models can be physics-based, derived using machine learning algorithms or a combination of both.

Partnership Agreement
Agreement between a DestinE User and one or more of the Entrusted Entities. It defines common objectives, roles and commitments between the parties involved. It includes indicators to measure the success of the activity. Partner contributions are considered by default as an in-kind contribution from all sides.

Procurement Contract
A contract, purchase order or work order signed between the Contractor and one of the Entrusted Entities under which the Contractor provides services, supplies, or works for the implementation of the Entrusted Tasks, and any amendments thereto.

Provision of technological capabilities, resources, methodologies, data, products and tools, including their management across a variety of digital infrastructures. DestinE handles and innovates complex workflows related to Earth system information generation and delivery, facilitates the management of complex monitoring, prediction and projection systems, and makes components available for use in different digital contexts to enable rich interaction in the wider digital environment.

The services developed and implemented by DestinE provide free and open access to tools, software and platforms.

Policy or research institution or company with a substantial interest in the development of one or more of the DestinE components (DESP, DSDL, DT) as a Beneficiary, a User, a provider of technology or infrastructure, or as a responsible party for the policy objectives of DestinE.

System Integration and Verification
Functional Integration & Verification (I&V) and Testing of DestinE system components and interfaces of the DestinE architecture, in order to demonstrate its readiness for a routine service provision and ensure the proper functioning of all system components as one, integrated system.

Use Case
Demonstration of DestinE capabilities for a specific application. A Use case includes a definition of the problem and objective, the relevant User mandate, the interaction between a user (human or service) and the system, and the corresponding DestinE products and capabilities required, an implementation based on available data and services, and an evaluation of the fitness-for-purpose and benefit beyond the state of the art.

User Partnership
Structured work relation between the Entrusted Entities and policy institutions from EU services, EU Member State services (national, regional, local levels) and, possibly, global institutions. User partnerships aim to design sustainable services throughout the lifetime of DestinE in a way that corresponds to the specific needs of the users. (Reference: DestinE Contribution Agreement).

User partnerships are established via Partnership Agreements.

Abbreviations and acronyms

3 Entrusted Entities Partnership (ESA – ECMWF – EUMETSAT)

3 Entrusted Entities Data Lakes including ESA Data Lake, ECMWF Data Store, and EUMETSAT Big Data Services

Artificial Intelligence

Application Programming Interface

Auxiliary data or information

Amazon Web Services

Big Data          

Container as a Service

Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring System

Climate Data Store

Cloud Optimized GeoTIFF

European Commission

CSC DA               
Copernicus Data Access

Central Processing Unit

Copernicus Space Component

Data as a Service

Destination Earth initiative

DestinE Coordination Group

DestinE Data Lake

Digital Elevation Model

DestinE Core Service Platform

Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology

Data and Information Access Services

Digital Object Identifier

Data Portfolio

Data Store

Digital Twin

Digital Twin Engine

Digital Twin Software Suite


European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts

Essential Climate Variable

Euro Data Cube

Earth Observation

ECMWF Reanalysis v5

European Space Agency

European Union

The European High Performance Computing (HPC) Joint Undertaking (JU)

European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites

European Weather Cloud

File Transfer Protocol


General Data Protection Regulation

Geographical Information System

Graphics Processing Unit

General Regularly distributed Information in Binary form v2

Graphical User Interface

Harmonised Data Access

High Performance Computing

Hypertext Transfer Protocol

Integration & Validation

Infrastructure as a Service

Interface Control Document


Internet Information Services

Internet of Things

Invitation to Tender

Joint Research Centre

Local Area Network

Land Cover / Land Use


Modelling Inventory and Knowledge Management System of the European Commission

Machine Learning

Non-Governmental Organisation

Open Geospatial Consortium

Open-Source Software

Platform as a Service


Hypertext Processor

Quality Assurance

Quality Control

Random Access Memory

REST API            
Representational State Transfer API

Reference System

AWS Simple Storage Service

Software as a Service

Strategic Advisory Board

Smart Middleware Platform

Service Level Agreement

Statement of Work

Structures Query Language

Sentinels Resource Allocation

System-specific Security Requirement Statement


To Be Confirmed

To Be Decided

Tagged Image File Format

Technical Note

User Application Portfolio

Verification, validation & uncertainty quantification

Vulnerability Assessment

Wide Area Network

World Meteorological Organization