Coronavirus: The Commission and the European Space Agency launch a new platform to monitor green and sustainable recovery
Since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, space activities have been playing a strong role. The Copernicus programme has been fully mobilised from day one of this crisis, to help citizens and public authorities in the Member States during these difficult times. Developed by the Commission in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), the ‘Rapid Action Coronavirus Earth observation’ tool – also known as RACE –, was unveiled today. The platform uses Earth observation satellite data to measure the impact of the coronavirus lockdown and monitor post-lockdown recovery, at local, regional and global scale. Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “The ‘Rapid Action Coronavirus Earth’ observation tool is truly a demonstration of European resilience. Even in darkest of times, Europeans always find solutions for the most difficult situations. The platform, developed in cooperation with the European Space Agency, is a unique and remarkable tool that will not only help us during the coronavirus pandemic but also in many other areas given the versatility of its functionalities, including to reach our green objectives.” The tool notably monitors key environmental parameters – such as air and water quality changes, economic and human activities including industry, shipping, construction, traffic, as well as agricultural productivity. For this purpose, the platform combines observation data from the Copernicus Sentinels satellites, owned by the EU, with the help of new digital tools, such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.