Free Access to EU Satellite Data

Free Access to EU Satellite Data (Press Release, Brussels, 13 November 2013).

From the release:

The European Commission 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.

To make maximum use of this wealth of information, researchers, citizens and businesses will be able to access Copernicus data and information through dedicated Internet-based portals. This free access will support the development of useful applications for a number of different industry segments (e.g. agriculture, insurance, transport, and energy). Other examples include precision agriculture or the use of data for risk modelling in the insurance industry. It will fulfil a crucial role, meeting societal, political and economic needs for the sustainable delivery of accurate environmental data.

More information on the Copernicus web site at:

The “€ 30 billion” financial benefit seems a bit soft after looking at the study reports on the economic value of Copernicus.

For example, if Copernicus is used to monitor illegal dumping (D. Drimaco, Waste monitoring service to improve waste management practices and detect illegal landfills), how is a financial benefit calculated for illegal dumping prevented?

If you are the Office of Management and Budget (U.S.), you could simply make up the numbers and report them in near indecipherable documents. (Free Sequester Data Here!)

I don’t doubt there will be economic benefits from Copernicus but questions remain: how much and for who?

I first saw this in a tweet by Stefano Bertolo.

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