GEOSSS and COPERNICUS – Earth observation systems


The GEO’s Mission aims at  building  the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). GEOSS is a collection of coordinated, independent Earth observation for users in both public and private sectors. GEOSS  facilitates the sharing of environmental data and information collected from an array of observing systems.  The system  ensures the data is  of identified quality, and is interoperable to support the development of tools and the delivery of information services to enhance predictive capabilities for decision-making in line with the open access policy of the EU.

As examples of data available through monitoring, flood risk monitoring can be mentioned as well as  environmental parameters , space and security issues.

The ‘GEOSS Portal’ offers a single Internet access point for users seeking data, imagery and analytical software packages relevant to all parts of the globe. It connects users to existing data bases and portals and provides reliable, up-to-date and user friendly information – vital for the work of decision makers, planners and emergency managers.


Copernicus is the other major Earth observatiom system run by the EU. Through satellite (the Sentinel system) and in-situ observations, the services deliver near-real-time data on a global level which can also be used for local and regional needs.

Copernicus is composed of a set of  sqtellites (the Sentinel families) and  existing commercial and public satellites. Since the launch of Sentinel-1A in 2014, the European Union set in motion a process to place a collection of more than 20  satellites in orbit before 2030.

Copernicus also collects information from ground stations, which deliver data acquired by a multitude of sensors on the ground, at sea or in the air.  These data compared to satellite data provide standardization and validation of satellites data.

The activities are composed of  six thematic fields: atmosphere, marine, land, climate, emergency and security.

The information provided by the Copernicus services can be used for a wide range of applications. These include urban area management, sustainable development and nature protection, regional and local planning, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, health, civil protection, infrastructure, transport and mobility, as well as tourism.

The main users of Copernicus services are policymakers and public authorities who need the information to develop environmental legislation and policies or to take critical decisions in the event of an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a humanitarian crisis.