GÉANT SUPPORTING WORLD’S BIGGEST EARTH OBSERVATION PROGRAMME
With the European Union investing almost €12 billion in space technology over the next seven years, it’s clear space is high on the political agenda. Copernicus is the EU’s Earth observation programme and will be the world’s biggest ever effort to characterise our planet. Once all the satellites have been launched, it will produce around eight terabytes of data every day, as it details the state of Earth’s land surface, atmosphere and oceans. GÉANT is now working on a trial with Copernicus to ensure the data is accessible to the worldwide research and education community, with full production planned for the end of the year. Via a connection of the gateway to the COPERNICUS data in Frankfurt to DFN PoP (the German National Research and Education Network) which in turn connects to GÉANT,
researchers all over the world will gain access to the Copernicus data sets with unrivalled bandwidth and network performance. These data sets will be generated from applications such as monitoring sea ice zones and the Arctic environment; surveillance of oil spills and ship detection; mapping forest, water and sustainable agriculture; supporting humanitarian aid in crisis situations and climate monitoring. Open dissemination of Copernicus information will help citizens, researchers and policy makers to integrate an environmental dimension into their decision-making procedures, multiplying the benefits for society today and tomorrow.
As well as supporting the space industry itself, the programme is likely to impact other economic sectors such as transport, oil and gas, insurance and agriculture. Studies show that it is likely to generate around €30 billion and create up to 50,000 jobs in Europe by 2030. In the future, GÉANT and the European Space Agency (ESA), which is developing the space observation structure, will cooperate on integration with eduGAIN. This will enable federated identity management to manage and improve access to the data, making it even easier for people to use the information.
Words Tamsin Henderson
Earth Observation - EUMETSAT and GÉANT ensuring delivery of critical data.