A new satellite offers improved opportunities for the remote sensing of agriculture and forestry

Anu Reinart, Translation by Astrid Pung | 24.06.2015

The Copernicus program initiated by the European Union helps to better understand the nature environment, to monitor the condition of the fields and forests, to react to the natural disasters and to ensure a safety. On 23rd of June at 04:52 Estonian time, the next of the Sentinel series satellites successfully reached orbit.


Sentinel-2 observes Earth from both the visible and the infrared spectral areas and thus will improve the radar data gathered from Sentinel-1. The results obtained from Sentinel 2 can be used in a wide variety of areas: agricultural monitoring (estimating the yield of crops, checking the health of field cultures and monitoring the field areas), monitoring food security, reacting to the disasters (fast overview of the spread of the disaster, the planning of initial humanitarian aid), monitoring of the condition of the forests, sustainable development of urban environment, monitoring of the biological diversity and habitats.

Sentinel 2 is the main contributor of the Copernicus program into the earth observation service data information flow and will give a fresh picture on the surface of the land and the changes in the ecosystems. The satellite will also contribute to the security of Copernicus and to the development of climate monitoring services.

This launch has been greatly anticipated by the Estonian scientists in the field of remote sensing. In the FP7 GlaSS project the Sentinel 2 images are used for the monitoring of lakes. Also, it is hoped to create synergy with the use of Sentinel 1 radar images for agricultural applications, monitoring the mowing of grasslands and estimating the biomass of forests.

The data gathered through the Copernicus program is freely available to the users and thus enables the development of the innovative services through the cooperation of scientists and businesses and the establishment of new businesses offering services in the field of remote sensing. More than 20 satellites in total will be sent to the orbit through the Copernicus program in order to get the most widespread picture in the world for applications of the environmental monitoring and security.