Copernicus Promotes Environmental Protection

Did you know Earth observation (EO) satellites can determine the carbon capturing potential of forests to provide more sustainability? According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the leading international body for the assessment of climate change –, deforestation and forest degradation constitute approximately 17 percent of carbon emissions, more than the entire global transportation sector.

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is a dedicated mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). By including the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, REDD+ goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation.

Significance of Europe’s EO Programme for Environmental Information

Within this context, the data delivered by the Copernicus programme is extremely useful in every area of environmental protection, from status quo assessments to the sustainable management of valuable resources.

It permanently monitors land, atmospheric, and ocean environments and provides timely, accurate information on the state of our planet. This information can in turn be used to support applications in many different domains, including forestry management, air quality, and oil spill detection.

Environmental information is of crucial importance. It helps to understand how our planet and its climate are changing, influencing our daily lives. The rapidly changing environment requires near real-time EO data, which Copernicus delivers through its Sentinels and in situ sensors in a reliable manner. This allows for decision makers, businesses and ultimately citizens to take the right actions.

Copernicus gives users free, full and open access to data and services. With eight Petabytes per year Europe’s Earth observation programme is one of the top three largest data providers worldwide. The innovative platform, Sapelli, makes use of this huge amount of big data and is focussing on EO-related data collection and sharing for non-literate and illiterate users.

Sapelli – Mobile Data Collection & Sharing Platform for Non-Literate Users

Sapelli is a new mobile data collection and sharing platform designed with a particular focus on non-literate and illiterate users with little or no prior ICT experience. Its main goal is to provide indigenous people with tools that empower them to take action to protect their local environment and way of life. Based on imagery from Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2, the app identifies logging areas and gives its users the possibility to designate their territory and claim their rights against the logging companies. Sapelli – the victorious Space App Camp 2014 team – offers pictorial decision trees and icon-driven interfaces. Check out the application available in the Google Play store.

After this specific example let’s have a closer look at the bigger picture of the Copernicus programme’s diversity.

Explore Copernicus in Action
Copernicus in Action is the first ESA hardcover book on EO specifically dedicated to Copernicus idea competitions and Space App Camps, in partnership with AZO. Discover the myriad EO applications and how the serve economic and societal purposes in everyday life.

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About the European Space Week
The European Space Week brings together the most important space stakeholders, companies, partners and visionaries in Europe pushing the topic of space in Europe and beyond. It is organised by the European Commission (EC) under the auspices of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU and co-organised by the European Space Agency (ESA), AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen and Garage48.

Copernicus Masters and Space App Camps
The Copernicus Masters is the leading innovation platform for commercial Earth observation applications. Since 2011, it is annually awarding prizes to outstanding solutions of business and society. Since 2012, the Space App Camps regularly bring programmers together to develop creative apps that make Earth observation data – in particular from the Copernicus programme – available to a wide range of citizens. These intense events enable new user groups to benefit from the countless opportunities EO data offer in connection with mobile applications.

AZO is organising both initiatives on behalf of ESA. By leveraging its extensive experience in building and maintaining global innovation networks and organising related contests, AZO drives product innovations and the creation of new companies all along the value chain, particularly in the field of commercial aerospace applications.

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