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Who has access to Copernicus and according to which criteria?

Primary users of Copernicus are public policy-makers, public bodies responsible for environment and security matters, and business operators. However, access will not be limited to these users and the data and information provided by Copernicus will be accessible in principle to any citizen.

A few exceptions will however exist in some specific situations where security is at stake. In such cases, a limited access should probably be envisaged.

Practically, Copernicus information will be provided to users through a set of services, most of them being available online.

The Copernicus Programme covers six thematic areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security.


Who provides Copernicus services?

The service provision of Copernicus services has been delegated by the European Commission to a number "Entrusted Entities", which act or will act as "service providers".

In this perspective, several "Delegation Agreements" were signed during the period 2014 – 2015.

The Copernicus services are provided to users as follows:

  • The Copernicus Land Monitoring Service is provided by the European Environment Agency (EEA) for the Pan-European and local components, and by the European Commission Joint Research Center (JRC) for the global land component;
  • The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Services (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) are provided by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF);
  • The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) is provided by Mercator Océan (the French centre for analysis and forecasting of the global ocean);
  • The Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) is provided by the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC);
  • The Copernicus Security Service is provided respectively by FRONTEX for Border Surveillance, by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) for Maritime Security and by the European Satellite Center (SatCen) for Support to External Action.

Are Copernicus services fully free-of-charge for users? Who pays for Copernicus Services?

Copernicus services whose implementation and operation are supported by public funding at the European level will fall into the regime defined by the Copernicus governance. Considered as "public goods", a full and open access to these services will be organised. Data from the Sentinels will be free of charge to users.

Downstream services correspond to those services that will be implemented outside the scope of the Copernicus governance and without EU public funding. They will be developed by public or private operators with the objective to meet specific needs (e.g. specific to a group of user, location-specific, etc.).

Downstream services will provide their users with added-value by combining the information provided by the Copernicus services with additional data (e.g. socio-economic data). Depending on the business model adopted by each service provider, these downstream services could be either free for the final user (e.g. funding through advertising) or associated to a fee (e.g. pay-per-use, recurrent fee, etc.).


Are Copernicus services already available?

The Land Monitoring Service, the Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS), the Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), the mapping component of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS - Mapping) are now delivered in an operational mode.

The Climate Change Service (C3S) and Security Service are still in a development phase.

The availability of downstream services (i.e. value-added services based on the above-mentioned Copernicus services) is depending on downstream providers.


Why is the programme named Copernicus?

By choosing the name Copernicus we are paying homage to a great European scientist and observer: Nicolaus Copernicus. The Copernicus theory of the heliocentric universe is considered by many to be the main precursor of modern science.

Copernicus opened to man an infinite universe, previously limited by the rotation of the planets and the sun around the Earth, and created a world without borders.

Humanity was able to benefit from his insight and this set in motion the spirit of scientific research which allowed us to have a better understanding of the world we live in.