New European system to help look after our planet
Artist's impression of Sentinel-4
Photo: ESA - P.Carril
Through the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) initiative, Europe is developing its own system to monitor the state and evolution of our environment. This flagship project was one of the topics covered by European space policy ministers and European Space Agency (ESA) representatives meeting at the Sixth Space Council on 29 May.
GMES will produce Earth observation data collected from space- and ground-based infrastructure. The Space Component features 5 satellite missions, called the Sentinels, which are being developed by ESA. The In-Situ Component comprises sensors on the ground, floating in the oceans or carried on aircraft. These facilities already exist and are located both inside and outside the EU.
Services will be provided in 5 different domains:
1. Land (geo-data on land cover, crop monitoring)
2. Marine (oil-spill detection, weather forecasts)
3. Atmosphere (air quality, UV exposure)
4. Emergency response (rapid maps for humanitarian aid)
5. Security (border surveillance).
GMES will give access to timely and reliable data, which can, for instance, help mitigate the impact of climate change and improve civil security. Users will include decision-makers, businesses or anyone who may find the information useful. The initiative is progressing towards its operational phase, to be launched in 2011.
The GMES core services and their applications are expected to give a major boost to European innovation and competitiveness.
Council press release(pdf)
Council webcast of press conference
EC GMES website
GMES R&D (SWIFT) website
ESA GMES website