Copernicus is a European system for monitoring the Earth. Data is collected by different sources, including Earth observation satellites and in-situ sensors. The data is processed and provides reliable and up-to-date information about six thematic areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security. The land theme is divided into four main components:
The Global Land Service provides a series of bio-geophysical products on the status and evolution of the land surface at global scale at mid and low spatial resolution. The products are used to monitor the vegetation, the water cycle and the energy budget.
The pan-European component provides information about the land cover and land use (LC/LU), land cover and land use changes and land cover characteristics. The latter includes information about imperviousness, forests, natural grasslands, wetlands, and permanent water bodies.
The local component focuses on different hotspots, i.e. areas that are prone to specific environmental challenges and problems. This includes detailed LC/LU information for the larger EU cities (Urban Atlas), riparian zones along European river networks and NATURA 2000 sites. It will also include maps of coastal areas.
All of the Copernicus services need access to in-situ data in order to ensure an efficient and effective use of Copernicus space-borne data. Next to data provided by participating countries, Earth observation from space also yields pan-European reference datasets, such as a Digital Elevation Model.