Large amounts of Earth observation (EO) data have been collected to date, to increase even more rapidly with the upcoming Sentinel data. All this data contains unprecedented information, yet it is hard to retrieve, especially for nonremote sensing specialists. As we live in an urban era, with more than 50% of the world population living in cities, urban studies can especially benefit from the EO data. Information is needed for sustainable development of cities, for the understanding of urban growth patterns or for studying the threats of natural hazards or climate change. Bridging this gap between the technology-driven EO sector and the information needs of environmental science, planning, and policy is the driver behind the TEP-Urban project. Modern information technology functionalities and services are tested and implemented in the Urban Thematic Exploitation Platform (U-TEP). The platform enables interested users to easily exploit and generate thematic information on the status and development of the environment based on EO data and technologies. The beta version of the web platform contains value added basic earth observation data, global thematic data sets, and tools to derive user specific indicators and metrics. The code is open source and the architecture of the platform allows adding of new data sets and tools. These functionalities and concepts support the four basic use scenarios of the U-TEP platform: explore existing thematic content; task individual on-demand analyses; develop, deploy and offer your own content or application; and, learn more about innovative data sets and methods.