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Earth observation

Earth observation by satellites

For decades, Europe has observed Earth from space, and in recent years, has made major investment in satellite systems.
This has provided it with leading edge technology to gather precise information on a wide range of global parameters – from weather systems and pollution to assessing urban development.

Although they are not the sole source of information on the condition of our planet, satellites’ unique capabilities make them central to the GMES initiative.

Surface stations are scattered very unevenly around the globe. They are especially scarce in polar, oceanic and sparsely inhabited land regions where, some climate forecasters suggest, the greatest changes may be occurring.

Satellites provide an economical alternative to terrestrial infrastructure for integrated monitoring and analysis of the relationships between the natural environment, economic policy and topics related to political stability and national/international security, all critical applications throughout the world.

Moreover, their vision is not constrained by national frontiers.
Whereas borders may limit terrestrial communications, satellites provide the means to transfer information across borders – thus ensuring societies continue to develop and improve not only throughout Europe, but also around the world.



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Earth observation