France: A recent study brings forward the idea that data from the upcoming Sentinel series of satellites should be regarded as public sector information, increasing their value for money. Through the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme, decision-makers will have access to reliable, timely and accurate information services to manage the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.
The programme will rely heavily on data provided by the Sentinel family of satellites – the first of which is due for launch later this year.
The potential of these data and information to be ‘reused’ both for commercial and non-commercial purposes recently came into focus in an ESA-commissioned study. In the final report, the authors outlined how reusing the data could potentially generate new businesses and jobs, and provide consumers with more choice and more value for money.
The report notes: “GMES may well be Europe’s goose capable of laying golden eggs. But how can we ensure a steady sustainable business model: do we take one egg (direct returns from sales of data) or do we allow the egg to hatch, hoping more golden-egg-laying geese will follow?”
The free and open data policy for Sentinel data is expected to foster such reuse. In fact, there is evidence that economic benefits are magnified when the data are made available at low or marginal cost, so that entry barriers are minimised also for small and medium enterprises.