Availability of EU-based satellite data
The European Copernicus Programme maintained by the European Space Agency (ESA) provides Earth Observation (EO) data free of charge on an open-access basis to European citizens. The Copernicus services are based on satellite and in situ observations, and cater to even near real-time data needs. The services provide global data, which can also be used for local and regional needs.
This data can, for example, help to make visible different phenomena affecting Earth, such as air quality, the ozone layer, emissions, solar radiation, marine safety, urban planning, and forest management. It can contribute to applications e.g. in agriculture and food security, nature conservation, mitigation of climate change, border surveillance, floods, forest fires, and droughts.
Unexploited business potential for Earth Observation (EO) data
Many commercial entities in the Baltic Sea region, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) could offer new services or enhance their existing services if they used Earth Observation (EO) data. For instance, in the development of carbon-neutral tourism, Copernicus data can give information on the CO2 emissions of a particular area, and the prediction models can be validated with complementing ground monitoring plots.
However, technical barriers may prevent SMEs from fully exploiting the data and information that Copernicus delivers. Not everyone is aware of the possibilities of the Copernicus data either. Furthermore, people might lack knowledge on how to get the desired data from the service, and how to edit it further into the desired form.
Need to bridge gaps in EO data usage
In order to solve these challenges, the Interreg project BalticSatApps organised a series of educational events, innovation generation events, and an acceleration programme to increase interest and facilitate the use of EO in business.
The three-year BalticSatApps project supported the whole chain of developing new services and applications from identifying needs to providing solutions, and from there to commercialisation. The project has been conducted in close collaboration between the project partners from Estonia, Finland, Poland, Russian Federation, and Sweden.
Mapping potential users of EO data
The BalticSatApps project started by approaching in all the partner countries (Estonia, Finland, Poland, Russia and Sweden) the user and developer scene of EO data. Senior Scientist D.Sc. Ali Nadir Arslan from the Finnish Meteorological Institute led these activities, and the research results are made available in the form of EO Market Country Profiles:
"As part of our user uptake activities, we mapped potential users, along with potential and current domain-wise usage of Copernicus data. Furthermore, we conducted a gap analysis by category in order to match EO products and services, both existing and potential new ones, to the needs of industries in the Baltic Sea region. The results show that land, climate change and marine are the most demanded application areas for the users of EO data. In the future, we will see more usage in areas like agriculture, fishery, energy, tourism, natural hazards, and extreme weather events," he describes.