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Satellite image processing used to be digital from early on. Still, since digital image processing of Landsat imagery started in the early 1970ies, the workflows used to bear a significant share of ‘manual’ data manipulation, including storage, pre-processing, and supervised classification. Only today, with heavily increased computing power, cloud storage and processing systems, as well as automated information extraction, the workflows experience disruptive changes which both the scientific community and the Earth observation service industry have to cope with.

But ‘digital’ refers to more than an increased level of workflow automation. In fact it encompasses the greater societal and technological transformations we are facing in the way how massive (‘big’) data, including satellite-borne data, is being conditioned, exploited and combined with other big data sources, and delivered in near real-time to users in highly integrated information products.

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