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EU enhances commercial access to Earth observation data

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Businesses and research institutions will soon have more reliable access to commercial earth observation satellite data, according to a proposal presented by the European Commission in Brussels.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, commented that: “The use of satellite imagery is an important and fast growing business. This Directive will facilitate commercial Earth observation and access to satellite data within the EU, accelerating the development of this innovative sector and the creation of new products and services. Our economy will benefit from increased competition by improving free circulation of satellite data throughout the EU."

It aims to ensure better access to high resolution earth observation satellite data (HRSD) in particular, which, together with HRSD-based applications, are an essential tool for environment monitoring, urban planning, agriculture, natural resources management and disaster and emergency management, as well as for security and defence. Today regulations governing commercial activities using HRSD differ between EU Member States. This situation creates obstacles to market development as it hampers access to data vital by related businesses: including data resellers, data processors, value-adding service providers and software developers. Today´s proposal aims to improve business conditions for such companies in Europe and to partially harmonise rules defining HRSD and related transparency and standards in the EU.

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