Steered by the European programme Copernicus, several polar satellites keep a close eye on our planet. With this information technology, we can, among other things, respond to harvest predictions or monitor permafrost in the tundra.
Copernicus, a joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA), has been focusing on remote sensing since 2006. Two polar satellites, Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 3, chart the entire earth in detail in a 10-day cycle. The images provided by these satellites offer a consortium of European partners a range of useful data on, among other things, the oceans, the atmosphere, border security, floods, climate and global land use.
Within the Copernicus consortium, VITO is responsible for monitoring global land use. By means of satellite data, it collects information and develops applications and models for policy-makers, local governments and companies. In practice, these can be used to predict, for instance, harvests in Africa.