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Group Urges Broad Access To Copernicus/GMES Data

The Sentinel 1 satellite is part of the Copernicus/GMES network. Credit: ESA artist's concept

PARIS — Europe’s remote sensing industry on Feb. 26 urged the European Commission not to overly restrict access to data from the coming Copernicus/GMES global environment-monitoring system, saying very little of it will be a matter of genuine security concern.

In a position paper designed to shape how the commission manages Copernicus, whose proposed budget is about 3.8 billion euros ($4.9 billion) over seven years starting in 2014, the association of remote-sensing companies says it is “very familiar with, and well-adapted to, working with classified data and information.

“Nevertheless, very little of the products generated [by Copernicus and its fleet of Earth-observing satellites] will present security risks and the restrictions should be kept to a minimum,” the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC) says in the document.

“The rules governing this should be as clear as possible, consistently applied and follow the EU ESDP,” or European Security and Defense Policy.

EARSC had previously endorsed an idea, pushed by the 20-nation European Space Agency, an investor in Copernicus, but not yet adopted by the European Commission, that Copernicus data should be released freely and openly.

EARSC says this can be done in such a way as to protect the business models of companies that generate revenue from Earth observation data, and that the greater value is a free and open distribution of data to encourage the development of value-added services.

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