Europe to open up free access to environmental satellite data
The European Commission has announced it will provide free, full and open access to a wealth of important environmental data gathered by Copernicus, Europe's Earth observation system.
The new open data dissemination regime, which will come into effect next month, will support the vital task of monitoring the environment and will also help Europe's enterprises , creating new jobs and business opportunities.
Sectors positively stimulated by Copernicus are likely to be services for environmental data production and dissemination, as well as space manufacturing. Indirectly, a variety of other economic segments will see the advantages of accurate earth observation, such as transport, oil and gas, insurance and agriculture.
Studies show that Copernicus — which includes six dedicated satellite missions, the so-called Sentinels, to be launched between 2014 and 2021 — could generate a financial benefit of some € 30 billion and create around 50.000 jobs by 2030.
Moreover, the new open data dissemination regime will help citizens, businesses, researchers and policy makers to integrate an environmental dimension into all their activities and decision making procedures.
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "This open data strategy is essential in unleashing the full potential of the Copernicus programme and developing the Earth observation markets.
"Its services will deliver information to a chain of information re-processors and end-users on a sustained basis.
"The 'Copernicus economy' will grow by attracting investment in the innovative applications market which is striving to meet increasing user demands for new services.
"Copernicus services are already essential to monitor the areas hit by natural catastrophes. A few days ago, Copernicus offered to the civil protection images of the most damage areas hit by the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, contributing to organise rescues".
The European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik said: "Copernicus is an essential part of the shared environmental information infrastructure that will significantly contribute to better implementation of environmental policies, one priority of the 7th Environmental Action Programme.
"Environmental policy making depends on up-to date, accurate and comparable data on the current and future state of the Earth. Free, full and open access to Copernicus earth observation data represents a key contribution to good environmental governance in Europe."
See more at ENN affiliate, ClickGreen.
Satellite image via Shutterstock.