The Thematic Working Group on Emergency (ETWG), led by the University of Basilicata (UNIBAS), has the main objective to support, with expert advice, all the CopHub.AC activities that are related to the development and user-uptake of Earth Observation-based solutions for Emergency. In this field, the ETWG is promoting and moderating the research pipeline of the CopHub.AC, helping in evaluating fluxes and contents, checking for their completeness, and their scientific soundness. Such an activity would aim at fostering the Copernicus User Uptake initiative – as well as the Copernicus Academy Network – also providing information useful in supporting the Academy to manage stakeholder requests.
Highlights and results
The ETWG activity is organized involving all the registered experts with a continuous and fruitful brainstorming through planned teleconferences and mail exchanges.
The ETWG started its activities in September 2019 with some preliminary actions and is currently ongoing. In its first phase, all the experts involved were invited to suggest new topics of possible interest of the Copernicus Emergency Core Service (CECS), which were shared at the Copernicus Stakeholder Consultation Workshop held in Brussels on 7-11-2019.
Interesting and useful proposals raised from this phase, such as:
- the need to develop and implement continuous (i.e., in real-time) monitoring functionalities/services on ongoing natural and man-made disasters, which are not yet sufficiently implemented
- the need for a proper integration within the CECS of ground-based observations and a timely data validation
- the need for a comparison of remote-sensed classified results with numerical models for improving products related to damage mapping and prediction (e.g. floods)
- to include climate change-related emergencies among the other topics
- to guarantee an easy assimilation of Copernicus data/products into the civil protection system.
An open discussion started within the WG on the following main issues, related to the use of EO-based technologies for emergency monitoring and management:
i) Gaps in the demand: what is currently available and is not fully used? Are there EO/solutions that are already available but not operationally used and/or not used as large as it would be possible (e.g., in the
developing countries where in-situ data are very scarce, even lower performance products can be profitably used)?
ii) Gaps in the offer: which are those user demands that have not been satisfied yet? It includes both emerging demands (new markets) and opportunities (new technologies) useful to identify those topics to be prioritized in the research fund distribution.
iii) Gaps in the user-uptake: which are the obstacles that are still present and prevent the full exploitation of the huge potential of Copernicus-based technologies? This will range from administrative issues (e.g., national regulations), lack of adequate skills and/or of accompanying measure (e.g., dedicated funds and/or training) to encourage the transition, etc.
iv) Quality assessment: how to ensure status-of-art product/services? The scientific community at large should be engaged to validate and benchmark alternative products/services in a more transparent and effective way. Easier interactions with the CECS should be established in order to report bugs/errors identified in the outputs/maps they provide.
All the experts are (and will be) involved in the discussions and a continuous search for new cooperation, trying to enlarge our small community of people interested in the EWG topics, is currently ongoing too.