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What did the 3rd Copernicus National User Forum deliver?


What did the 3rd Copernicus National User Forum deliver?

On the 10th - 11th June 2014 the 3rd Copernicus National User Forum, this year focused on the SAR data and Copernicus downstream services, took place in Prague on the premises of the Ministry of Transport. This conference, organized in cooperation with CENIA, Czech Environmental Information Agency, the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic, was attended by more than 100 visitors. This year the event was organised as a side event of the European Space Solutions conference.

The main topic of the conference was the launch of the first Copernicus satellite, Sentinel-1A (on the 3rd April 2014). Visitors learned about the basics of Sentinel's data and the main fields of its use, and got an overview about the basic principles of its processing. Sentinel 1 was also compared with existing SAR satellites and their products (TerraSAR-X a KOMPSAT-5).

Conference Opening: (left to right) Vladimir Fanta, Director of CENIA; Jan Landa, Deputy Minister of Environment; Karel Dobeš, Deputy Minister of Transport.

Earth Observation is one of the most progressive sectors of space activities. Further acceleration of the development of this sector can be expected in connection with the free and open access to the Sentinel’s data. In response to the growing competitiveness in the market, the prices of satellite images, that comprise a substantial part of the price of the services offered, are gradually decreasing. Copernicus will, in some cases, significantly contribute to this trend. One of the persisting barriers to the rapid development of this sector is a low awareness about the potential and possibilities of remote sensing. The forthcoming freely available data and systemic awareness raising of the potential users should minimise this barrier in the future. Further development of the utilization of remote sensing data in the Czech Republic is hampered by a relatively low willingness to finance or co-finance the development of services development from private sources. This outlines an important subject for further discussions and remains a big challenge for stakeholders and key market players. The main reason for this current state is the limited portfolio of users, due to the pricing of the services. An alarming fact regarding the utilization of the data from the scientific satellite missions is that although Europe is the main investor to this sector, the data from these missions are used mostly outside Europe.

Conference room: the view of participants

Downstream services - applications built on the basis of satellite data mostly from the commercial sector - play a crucial role for the development of Copernicus in the Czech Republic. But the financing of these services remains a key question. This topic was presented on the first conference day and was followed up with lively discussions. Horizon 2020 as one of the possible sources of financing at European level is closely connected with Copernicus. Another opportunity is given by the new framework of the Operational Programmes for the period 2014 - 2020. The specific objectives of these programmes support the development of the applications based upon Copernicus data (e.g. the Operational Programme Transport II) or in general the utilization of the satellite data mainly for the monitoring of the environment. Other opportunities at national level are offered by certain instruments of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic in its programmes EPSILON and DELTA. The Copernicus Masters competition, supporting the application development based on the satellite data, also provides a chance for students and new business start-ups/ventures.

Conference section no.1: (left to right) Lenka Hladíková, moderator (CENIA); Ondřej Šváb, speaker (MoT)

Within 2014 the Copernicus Programme is now entering its operational phase. The legal framework for its functioning is set by the new Regulation No 377/2014 of the European Parliament and Council of 3rd April 2014, establishing the Copernicus programme. Copernicus now has its own source of finance and after long preparations also has its own capacity for Earth Observation.

Accompanying exhibition "Waste smART" by European Environment Agency

The 3rd Copernicus National User Forum brought with it an extensive summary for the potential of mainly SAR Copernicus data and its possible applications. The conference offered possible connections across the public sector, academia and the private sphere at both national and international levels. Many thought-provoking topics were presented and opened up discussions about the Copernicus issue. However, some questions remain unanswered, so it is a challenge as to how end users will adopt all the data and information and make use of the opportunities offered. Let's hope that next year’s conference will help us to find an answer to some of these important questions.

More information and conclusions from the conference can be found here.

(source: copernicus.gov.cz)

Author: Václav Nesládek   |   Section: News   |   Print   |   Send article to friend

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