EUROPE’S COPERNICUS PROGRAMME (Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Science and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     22nd May 2024        

Context: The European Union recently activated its "rapid response mapping service" to assist Iran in searching for a helicopter carrying the President of Iran.

Europe’s Copernicus Programme

  • About: It is part of the EU’s space programme and aims to monitor the Earth and its environment by collecting data from a set of satellites known as the Sentinels.

oIt also gets data from contributing missions (existing commercial and public satellites) and in situ or non-space sources such as ground stations.

  • Historical Background

oNamed after the 15th-century scientist Nicolaus Copernicus, the programme was launched in 1998.

oInitially, it was known as the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Programme (GMES).

  • Implemented by: EU member states with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) for the space component and the European Environment Agency (EEA) for the in-situ component.
  • Rapid Mapping Service: It is one of the crucial components of the Emergency Management Service (EMS), which comes under the EU’s Copernicus programme.

Copernicus EMS

  • About: It has been operational since 2012. It provides geospatial information derived from satellite remote sensing and in situ data sources.
  • Purpose: The Copernicus EMS helps manage natural disasters, man-made emergencies, and humanitarian crises.
  • Two Main Components

oMapping Component: Provides maps and analysis based on satellite imagery.

oEarly Warning Component: Issues alerts about floods, droughts, and forest fires, and provides near-real-time assessments of forest fire impacts.

  • Mapping Component

oRapid Mapping (RM): Delivers maps within days or hours, anywhere in the world. Used for immediate disaster response, such as locating Raisi’s crashed helicopter.

oRisk and Recovery Mapping (RRM): Provides maps for disaster management within weeks or months. Focuses on prevention, preparedness, disaster risk reduction, and recovery.