BEYOND logo2

BEYOND-Building a Center of Excellence for EO based Monitoring of Natural Disasters

FP7- REGPOT-2012-2013-1 Coordination and Support Actions

2013-2016, GA 316210

2.305.000 EUR



The BEYOND Center of Excellence develops research and provides disaster management services addressing priorities and needs in South Eastern Europe, Mediterranean, N. Africa, Middle East and the Balkans. The Center's creation supported by the competitive framework of EU FP7-REGPOT-2012-2013-1 and costed 2,3 ΜEuros. It generated unique excellence and EO research infrastructure for the region. It maintains a fully operational and self-sustained activity, through competitive funding from Space research and operational projects supported by EU, ESA and International Funding Organisations (FP7, H2020, ESA EOEP, WB, EIB, etc.). The operational activity of the BEYOND Center serves the Civil Protection and Decision Making Process for disaster management, and the stakeholders acting in Institutional Disaster Management Authorities at International level. The Center in its activity has been validated, and is performing in compliance to European Copernicus and ESA standards (set by the SAFER project - see description below) in the provision of disaster management services. The Center's activity focuses on Emergency Response (during crisis) and Emergency Support (preparedness and recovery) (according to the Copernicus EMS standards), the protection of Sea and Atmospheric environment, as well as advanced topics relating to Agriculture and Food Security, improved Access to Renewable Energy Resources, and Climate Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change. Many Institutional Authorities and International Organisations have profited from the services offered by the BEYOND Center such as The European Forest Fires Information System/EFFIS, the The Global Fire Monitoring Center-GFMC, the European program for disasters Copernicus EMS, a large number of Civil Protection Authorities in countries over EU, Africa, Latin America, and Asia, as well as a number of Fire Brigade authorities, Forestry Departments, Directorates for the Protection of Forests and Natural Ecosystems, Environmental Agencies and Ministerial Bodies, Rehabilitation Services, etc. Indicatively and only over the period of 2016-2018, the BEYOND Center has been activated more than 20 times by the Copernicus EMS for the purposes of civil protection authorities worldwide, in order to address multi-hazard management needs, in cases of devastating earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, soil and coastal erosion, wildfires, floods, toxic gas emissions, duststorms, industrial accidents.

The activity of the Center is supported by a multidisciplinary team of experts comprising of more than 35 scientists (17 at M.Sc and 7 Ph.D. level).     

The BEYOND Center is funded from competitive programs (EU, ESA, National Programs), as well as from International Funding Organisations amounting 1.2-1.5 million Euros per year. At the same time, it supports with its infrastructure and research, the activity of other researchers in the country, providing an additional equal inflow of research funds at IAASARS/NOA.

The operation of the BEYOND Center contributes to the production of innovative research. It has supported the production of scientific publications in peer reviewed journals and articles in international conferences with several citation references. More specifically, this activity has already produced a number of 56 scientific publications in journals and 132 international conference proceedings.

The 1st prize as the Best Challenge Service among over 70 competitive proposals, brought international recognition (Copernicus Masters 2014 - Best Service Challenge Award), for the FireHub services. Dr Haris Kontoes is the owner of the patent no. 20150100061 issued by the Industrial Property Organization to protect the copyright of the FireHub service and Mr. Themistocles Herekakis, the co-developer of the FireHub information system, is the co-owner.

The role assignment of the UN-SPIDER Regional Support Officer, in the area of the Southeast Europe, Middle East and the Balkans, to BEYOND Center's research projects and disaster management services, was significant recognition.

The BEYOND Center has installed and operates large scale infrastructures for the systematic reception, management and redistribution of real-time Earth Observation data acquired by satellites and in-situ monitoring networks. The coverage and usage of the monitoring infrastructure is international. It covers observational needs of a wide research community and decision makers across the Southeast Europe, North Africa, Middle East and the Balkans. It includes:

  1. The Hellenic Mirror Site ( providing near real-time satellite data to the international research community and the private sector, from the Sentinels (S-1, S-2, S-3, S-5P) (Copernicus missions). The infrastructure is empowered by GRNET SA, the Greek partner of the GEANT network.
  2. The IntHub, DIASHub, and CollHub (International, DIAS, and Collaborative Data Hubs) Hubs, operated by the BEYOND Center for the purposes of ESA. They manage real-time distribution to more than 15Tbytes of Sentinels data a day to the Worldwide Space Agencies (NASA, NOAA, USGS, GA), DIAS platforms, and National Collaborative Data Hubs (Mirror Sites). The infrastructure is empowered by GRNET SA, the Greek partner of the GEANT network.



  1. Satellite acquisition antenna (DVB-2) and archiving facility for the real time reception of data fromEUMETSAT missions (MSG1, MSG2, MSG3).
  1. An X-/L-band acquisition antenna for real-time satellite data reception from missions EOS (AQUA, TERRA)/NASA, SUOMI-NPP/NASA, NOAA/AVHRR, METOP, FY, and corresponding archiving facility. The range of reception is the whole of Southeast Europe, North Africa, Middle East and the Balkans.
  1. Advanced PollyXT atmospheric lidar ground system, and a mobile unit lidar system EMORAL.
  2. A High Performing Processing Unit consisting of severs with high computing power, and a 300TBytes archive. The unit is devoted for satellite data processing, and services provision by operating the processing chains namely FireHub, FloodHub, GeoHub of the BEYOND Center


  1. Unmanned aerial platforms (UAVs, Drones), long-distance fixed-wing SendeFly e-Bee and ATLAS eight copter for lifting multiple load carriers (~5kgr).


  1. Monitoring of wildfires in rea time – The FireHub System
  2. Monitoring of flood events – The FloodHub System
  3. Monitoring and assessment of geo-hazards – The GeoHub System
  4. Response to Copernicus EMS Activations: Assessment studies and mapping of hazards, exposure, vulnerability, risk, and damages, as well as integrated evacuation and mitigation plans
  5. Integration of Crowd services in disaster management - DisasterHub
  6. UAV/Drone based Damage mapping after a catastrophic event
  7. Atmospheric disturbances and air pollution events
  8. Monitoring of Agricultural Practices and Food Security at various partial scales and resolutions
  9. Nowcasting and forecasting of Solar Energy– The SENSE System
  10. Assessment and projection of Essential Climate Variables – The DEAR-Clima System
  11. Monitoring of Dust Episodes and Dust Storm forecasting


The BEYOND Center has been activated in the following worldwide disaster risk and recovery cases (

Activation code and web link

Activation scope

Country / Territory


Multiple natural hazard risk assessment - Planning and Recovery

Azores islands, Portugal


Multiple natural hazard risk assessment - Planning and Recovery

Madeira and Porto Santo islands, Portugal


Earthquake risk assessment - Planning and Recovery



Post-disaster analysis, damage assessment, recovery and rehabilitation planning and monitoring, flood risk assessment, disaster preparedness and response mechanisms



Forest fire damage assessment - Planning and Recovery



Post-disaster assessment of toxic cloud dispersion after an industrial accident

Catalonia, Spain


Ground deformation mapping and monitoring by satellite based multi-temporal DInSAR technique



Forest fire damage assessment and landslide risk

Madeira island, Portugal


Multiple natural hazards risk assessment for UNESCO





Forest fire risks assessment



Detailed flood delineation

Hildesheim, Germany


Volcanic risk

Democratic Republic of the Congo


Flood assessment risk

Sardinia, Italy

Furthermore, the BEYOND Center has been activated after the fatal flood in western Attica, Greece, on 15 November 2017, following a heavy rainfall, mainly affecting the areas of Mandra and Nea Peramos (24 casualties, and a lot of infrastructure and assets destroyed completely or partially). It produced flood delineation and proposed mitigation measures ( For more information about BEYOND project, see ANNEX II.