The Copernicus land monitoring service provides geographical information on land cover and on variables related, for instance, to the vegetation state or the water cycle. It supports applications in a variety of domains such as spatial planning, forest management, water management, agriculture and food security, etc.
It consists of three main components:
- A global component;
- A Pan-European component;
- A local component.
The global component is coordinated by the European Commission DG Joint Research Centre (JRC). It produces data across a wide range of biophysical variables at a global scale (i.e. worldwide), which describe the state of vegetation (e.g. leaf area index, fraction of green vegetation cover, vegetation condition index), the energy budget (e.g. albedo, land surface temperature, top of canopy reflectance) and the water cycle (e.g. soil water index, water bodies).
The Pan-European component is coordinated by the European Environment Agency and will produce 5 high resolution data sets describing the main land cover types: artificial surfaces (e.g. roads and paved areas), forest areas, agricultural areas (grasslands), wetlands, and small water bodies. The pan-European component is also updating the Corine Land Cover dataset to the reference year 2012.
The local component is coordinated by the European Environment Agency and aims to provide specific and more detailed information that is complementary to the information obtained through the Pan-European component. It focuses on "hotspots" which are prone to specific environmental challenges. The local component provides detailed land cover and land used information (over major European cities, which are the first type of "hotspots". This is the so-called Urban Atlas. Besides an update of the Urban Atlas, the next local component will address biodiversity in areas around rivers (riparian areas).
In addition to the above-mentioned components, the service also supports the generation of a Pan-European Digital Elevation Model (DEM).
The service became operational in 2012.
The EU-funded Geoland2 project is responsible for the development of pre-operational GMES land monitoring services. The core mapping services include land cover change monitoring at various scales and geophysical and vegetation parameters for seasonal and annual change monitoring. In addition, information services have been developed that demonstrate the added-value of the initial services in various fields, such as spatial planning, agricultural-environment, water monitoring, forest monitoring, land-carbon monitoring and global crop monitoring.
Currently there are five downstream service projects:
- European Forest Downstream Services-Improved Information on Forest Structure and Damages, EUFODOS
- Enabling access to geological information in support of GMES, PanGeo
- The GMES Service Snow and Land Ice, CryoLand
- Operational Pan-European River Runoff, OPERR
- High Resolution Freshwater Monitoring, FreshMon
There are also five projects that have evolved from the service: ISAC for agriculture, BIO_SOS and MS.MONINA for biodiversity, ReCover and REDDAF for deforestation.
There is also the HELM service project for land monitoring and two other projects on deforestation for international cooperation: REDD-FLAME and REDDINESS.
Complementing the GMES land service and the downstream services, contracts for the Forest Monitoring and the Global Monitoring for Food Security project have been extended until 2012 in the frame of the ESA-funded GMES Service Element.
The Forest Monitoring project addresses policy-related demands for securing ecological functions in the forestry and land-use sector. It also delivers services such as yearly carbon balance information, forest disturbance data and products for practical forest and land-use management.
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