Earth Observation

Concerned by our changing environment,
FDC is actively involved in the EU Earth Observation programme: Copernicus.

In order to face the numerous challenges posed by global warming, including its associated socio-environmental issues, the European Union has implemented Copernicus, an unprecedented environmental monitoring programme, marking a new era in the Earth Observation domain.

Based on satellites data and in situ measurements, Copernicus provides public authorities, policy makers, scientists, entrepreneurs, businesses and citizens with a tremendous amount of environmental information. Mostly delivered on a full, free and open basis, these data foster the development of new, innovative and value-added services in a wide range of areas, going far beyond the usual geoinformation and environmental sectors (e.g. smart farming, urban mobility, emergency response).

From the Copernicus programme genesis, FDC has gained a deep expertise in Earth Observation technology and in its applications, particularly built on a long-track record of support services to the European Commission.

The services provided by FDC experts on Earth Observation encompass technical consultancy, users uptake, strategic advisory services, regulatory and policy support, dissemination and awareness raising activities.

Case Studies

Context & Objectives

The overall Copernicus ecosystem is constantly evolving, with new satellites missions, new products delivered, a stronger business involvement in the space sector via downstream services, as well as an increased availability of Copernicus data through online platforms. In this context, the European Commission launched a study to evaluate whether the current “free, full and open” data access policy would be fit for purpose after 2020.

FDC’s Activities

In particular, FDC brought its expertise to:

  • Identify and assess the technical and organisational options for the implementation of the considered data policy scenarios
  • Quantify the costs associated to these options
  • Formulate recommendations to the European Commission


  • Impact assessment and cost quantification for an informed decision-making process by the European Commission
  • Recommendations and implementation roadmaps for the post-2020 Copernicus Data Policy

Context & Objectives

In the context of its numerous Copernicus user uptake activities, the European Commission mandated FDC to organise a series of 11 Training and Information Sessions across Europe over the period 2017 – 2019. Prepared in collaboration with the hosting Member States, these events aimed at raising awareness of the many uses of Copernicus data and information, while providing attendees with the opportunity for hands-on demonstrations and basic training.

FDC’s Activities

FDC’s activities consisted in:

  • Planning and coordinating the upstream organisation of the events, including the establishment of the agenda, as well as the selection and management of speakers
  • Administrating the dedicated websites and managing the participants’ registration


  • Organisation of Training and Information Sessions in Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, France, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Iceland, Austria and Romania, gathering more than 1500 participants
  • Very positive feedbacks from participants and hosting Member States

Context & Objectives

The Copernicus programme heavily relies on its independent and dedicated Sentinel satellites, which provide a wealth of Earth observation data on a daily basis. The evolution of user needs with regard to environmental information, along with permanent technology advances, call for an evolution of the Copernicus space-based infrastructure and for a specification of the Sentinels’ next generation. In this context, the European Commission launched a study aiming at identifying the Earth observation data requirements for the next generation of Sentinel satellites.

FDC’s Activities

Based on an update of user requirements, our consultants identified the evolutions of the Copernicus services that would be necessary to meet the requirements. Their main activities consisted in:

  • Building-up of an up-to-date and comprehensive Copernicus products’ portfolio
  • Performing an in-depth gap analysis between updated user needs and the current portfolio
  • Identification of the Copernicus Services evolutions required to fill the gap


  • Comprehensive database of current Copernicus products’ technical specifications
  • Extensive panorama of required product and service evolutions

The achieved results served as a basis for the identification of long-term data requirements, which paved the way to the technical specification of the next generation of Sentinel satellites.

Banner Image: © Copernicus Sentinel Data, 2017