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Copernicus EMS Rapid Response Service

  • Context (TH): As part of a multi-agency effort to locate a helicopter carrying Iranian President that crashed in East Azerbaijan province, European Union activated its emergency satellite mapping service.

Death of Iran President - PMF IAS

Credit: TH

Europe’s Copernicus Programme

  • Launched in 1998 and previously known as the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Programme (GMES), Copernicus is the earth observation component of the European Union’s space programme.
  • The programme is named after Nicolaus Copernicus, the 15th-century Polish scientist who first proposed a heliocentric universe model.
  • The programme uses global data from satellites, and ground-based, airborne, and sea-borne measurement systems to address issues related to climate change, disaster management, agriculture, etc.

The Copernicus system - PMF IAS

Credit: TH

  • The space segment uses a group of satellites called the Sentinels and the Contributing Missions. It is complemented by a ground segment that includes in-situ sensors that provide access to the Sentinels and Contributing Missions data.
  • The programme is implemented by EU member states with the support of the European Space Agency for the space component and the European Environment Agency (EEA) for the in-situ component.
  • Data from the Copernicus programme is freely available and accessible to all.

Rapid response mapping service

  • The rapid response mapping technology is a critical component of the Emergency Management Service (EMS) within the Copernicus programme.
  • Active since 2012, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) works on two models — on-demand mapping and early warning and monitoring — to issue warnings, risk assessments and information on the impact of disasters worldwide, before, during, or after a crisis.
  • While on-demand mapping offers detailed information for specific emergencies, early warning provides critical geospatial data through monitoring and forecasts for floods, droughts, and forest fires.

How does rapid mapping work?

  • The Copernicus EMS on-demand rapid mapping provides geospatial information within a few hours or days of a request to support efforts in the immediate aftermath of an emergency or a disaster anywhere in the world.
  • It acquires, processes, and analyses satellite images, geospatial data, and relevant social media in rapid mode to provide information.
  • The service offers four “products” — one pre-event reference and three post-event (first estimate, delineation, grading).
    1. “First Estimate Product” offers a fast but rough assessment of the most affected area using the earliest post-event image.
    2. “Delineation” assesses the extent of the impacted area and an update on the situation if requested. The information is derived from images taken soon after the emergency.
    3. “Grading” provides a detailed damage assessment, its spatial distribution and extent.
  • Each comprises delivery packages, including maps and a vector package of spatial data.
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