Copernicus Emergency Management Services - Mapping
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
During the last decade, satellite based emergency mapping has developed from an R&D setting into mature operational services. The European Union's Copernicus - Emergency Management Service (known as GIO-EMS) is operational since April 2012. It's set-up differs from other mechanisms (for example from the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters"), as it extends fast satellite tasking and delivery with the value adding map production as a single service, which is available, free of charge, to the authorized users of the service. Maps and vector datasets with standard characteristics and formats ranging from post-disaster damage assessment to recovery and disaster prevention are generated by this initiative. Main users of the service are European civil protection authorities and international organizations active in humanitarian aid. All non-sensitive outputs of the service are accessible to the public. The European Commission's in-house science service Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the technical and administrative supervisor of the GIO-EMS. The EC's DG ECHO Monitoring and Information Centre acts as the service focal point. DG ENTR is responsible for overall programmatic issues and service governance. GIO-EMS also aims to contribute to the synergy with similar existing mechanisms at national and international level. The usage of satellite data for emergency mapping has increased during the last years and this trend is expected to continue because of easier accessibility to suitable satellite and other relevant geospatial data in the near future. Furthermore, the data and analyses coming from volunteer emergency mapping communities are expected to further enrich the content of such cartographic products. Coordination between several mechanisms has been established under the supervision of the International Working Group on Satellite Based Emergency Mapping (IWG-SEM). Members of the IWG-SEM, which include JRC, USGS, DLR-ZKI, SERVIR, Sentinel Asia, UNOSAT, UN-SPIDER, GEO, ITHACA and SERTIT have recognized the need to establish mutual notification mechanisms and ensure common best practice guidelines amongst operational satellite-based emergency mapping programs. GIO-EMS interacts strongly with its user community. This has led to evolving user requirements and a model that implements user-defined improvements directly in the operational workflow. We will provide an overview of the performance characteristics for the first 18 months of the programme, demonstrating characteristic mapping outputs, highlighting how we monitor performance improvements and providing insights on how the programme is expected to develop under the new EU Copernicus Regulation (period 2014-2020). We will also outline the key R&D issues that we expect to help move emergency mapping into the operational Sentinel phase.