BioPAL – Collaborative Open Source Software Development for ESA’s BIOMASS mission
2021-09-29, 14:30–15:00, Group on Earth Observations

ESA's BIOMASS mission is designed to provide, for the first time from space, P-band Synthetic Aperture Radar measurements to determine the amount of above ground biomass (AGB) and carbon stored in forests. The novelty of BIOMASS’s sensors poses the challenges to develop scientific algorithms, estimating i.e. ESA’s AGB data product, with limited data pre-launch and for timely improvement of operational algorithms with the mission launch in 2023.
The BIOMASS Product Algorithm Laboratory (BioPAL - is an open-source scientific project, supporting the development of official BIOMASS mission algorithms coded in Python. The goal of BioPAL is to bridge the gap between advancements in scientific algorithm development and fast integration into ESA’s BIOMASS’s ground operations. It is the first time that official processing algorithms for an ESA mission are released publicly and supported by open and collaborative development within the scope of an open-source software project and community.

Please see the abstract above.

Authors and Affiliations

Stefanie Lumnitz, European Space Agency
Clement Albinet, European Space Agency
Alberto Alonso-Gonzalez, German Aerospace Center
Francesco Banda, Aresys
Michele Caccia, European Space Agency
Emanuele Giorgi, Aresys
Mauro Mariotti d'Alessandro, Politecnico Milano
Paolo Mazzucchelli, Aresys
Nuno Miranda, European Space Agency
Klaus Scipal, European Space Agency
Maciej Soja, Mj Soja Consulting


Transition to FOSS4G


FOSS4G implementations in strategic application domains: land management, crisis/disaster response, smart cities, population mapping, climate change, ocean and marine monitoring, etc.


1 - Principiants. No required specific knowledge is needed.

Language of the Presentation


Stefanie is a research software and data engineer at ESA working on open source (OS) software and platforms. She is a core developer of PySAL, creator of the splot, and mentors in the Google Summer of Code Program for dask-geopandas and PySAL.