Report | Freely available satellite data for industry and authorities

Combining high-resolution and novel multispectral capabilities, a swath width of 290 km and frequent revisit times, the new Sentinel-2 mission offers views of Earth’s changing lands in unprecedented detail (Image: ESA/ATG medialab).

Satellite data have an enormous potential for commercial users and authorities. For instance, they are useful in farming, monitoring of building projects or mapping of changes in urban areas. The Copernicus Programme of the European Commission provides freely available remote-sensing data for those applications. To improve exchange of data and relevant information, so-called Copernicus Relays have been established. The Relay responsible for the North-Eastern part of Germany is located in Potsdam. It was founded by GEOkomm (Association of the Geoinformation Industry Berlin/Brandenburg) and the GFZ.

At a first meeting on 21 April experts from authorities, associations, universities, research institutions and industry were talking about the next steps. “In many cases it is not clear yet what can be done with satellite data and what is the most efficient way to use it for individual purposes,” says Daniel Spengler from GFZ-Section Remote Sensing. The team is planning to establish examples of typical applications to provide a lead-in for potential users. One example: Even small-scale vertical movements of the Earth´s surface can be obtained by the help of remote sensing data. That is useful for monitoring the construction of tunnels or subsurface gas storage sites.

“Furthermore, we have recognized a great demand for training courses within agencies and industry”, says Spengler. In a first step, the team is organizing a workshop for users taking place in autumn. Meanwhile, the Copernicus Relay in Potsdam will also be going to network with other Relays in Germany.

Ralf Nestler, 28.04.2017

>> More information