Analytical Report 20: Copernicus data for the open data community |
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Analytical Report 20: Copernicus data for the open data community

The European Data Portal’s 20th analytical report helps open data enthusiasts leverage the potential of Copernicus data for earth observation applications

The European Data Portal (EDP) has published their 20th analytical report: “Copernicus Data for the open data community”. The report is prepared by con terra and aims to help open data enthusiasts exploit the potential of Copernicus data for earth observation applications.

Copernicus is the EU-funded earth observation programme, led in partnership with the European Spaces Agency (ESA) that states: “Copernicus is the most ambitious Earth observation programme to date. It will provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change, and ensure civil security. […] Copernicus will help shape the future of our planet for the benefit of all.”

By combining information from in situ sensors and satellites, Copernicus regularly publishes vast amounts of earth observation data. Though earth observation professionals are likely already familiar with and able to use Copernicus data, non-experts can benefit from the data as well. To facilitate this, the analytical report answers three basic questions:

  • What can I do with Copernicus data?
  • How can I access the data?
  • Which tools do I need for using the data?

In addressing these questions, the authors made use of information that is already available on the European Data Portal in specialised catalogues, and practice examples of Copernicus data applications.

On the basis of this analysis, the authors state that Copernicus Data can be used for a wide range of cases. For instance: monitoring plastic pollution of the oceans, land change through mining activities, volcanic activities, ice loss, creation of artificial islands, and various impacts on nature such as deforestation, wildfires, storms, or pests.

A recent example of a Copernicus data use case is the observation of the eruption of Mount Etna. Here, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite data has been used to detect the signs of change that predict an eruption. That is, optical and radar instruments capture the phenomena such as lava flows, mudslides, ground fissures, and earthquakes that occur prior to eruption. Atmospheric sensors subsequently identify the gases and aerosols released and quantify the impact this has on the environment.

Overall, the analytical report discovers that, although users may find it difficult to use Copernicus data, the necessary tools and resources are readily available. The use case of the Mount Etna volcano clearly shows this as it makes use of tutorials and blog entries from Sentinel-2 images. This analytical report can serve as a blueprint and guide open data users with little background in earth observation to monitor volcanic activity or capture the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

To learn more, access the full analytical report.

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