Free access to EU satellite data

As from December 2013, 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.

This data will support the vital task of monitoring the environment and will also help Europe's enterprises in creating new jobs and business opportunities. Indirectly, a variety of other economic segments will see the advantages of accurate earth observation, such as in the fields of transport, oil and gas, insurance and agriculture. 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 such as precision agriculture or the use of data for risk modelling in the insurance industry. It will fulfil a crucial role in meeting societal, political and economic needs for the sustainable delivery of accurate environmental data.

Copernicus data and information will allow EU to monitor the following elements of the atmosphere:

  • greenhouse gases that influence climate change,
  • reactive gases that influence the quality of the air we breathe,
  • the ozone layer and levels of solar UV radiation reaching the ground, and
  • aerosols that affect temperature and air quality.

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. 


This article is presented by Impetus Europe Consulting Group.

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