In Estonia there is a great interest, but low usage of Copernicus data and services. Especially large institutes such as University of Tartu (UT) and Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), but also private enterprises like Datel and KappaZeta, as well as public authorities like Land Board and Agricultural Registers and Information Board are actively using Copernicus services and provide new services to Estonian community, and make them available mostly locally at first.

Current usage of data and services are for:

  • Estonian satellite data centre ESTHub allows users to search and download Copernicus programme data. ESTHub also offers a hosted data processing service to governmental institutions.
  • Development of Earth Observation (EO) methods
  • Development of new operational EO services

Development of new operational EO services:

  • Sea ice service (The sea ice, lake ice and snow cover data retrieved from Sentinel-1, -2 and -3 missions will be available via Estonian Environment Agency’s webpage and WMS service).
  • Ocean monitoring
  • Copernicus Land monitoring services in Estonia
  • Forestry
  • Water (analyse the ecological status class estimation based on these parameters as required by EU Water Framework Directive)
  • Emergency (warning information for critical infrastructure object like dams, bridges and also buildings)
  • Providing satellite image services (visualization platform)
  • Analysis Ready Data services (Time series).

Main areas of interest of the potential users of EO services in Estonia

On basis of the research conducted in the BalticSatApps project, there were 21 different domains of interests identified. Most of the users were interested in Mapping (24), Environment (22), Atmosphere (17), Agriculture and Forestry (16) applications. Application Land was not stated out separately. From those interested in Mapping, 11 were from Institutes and 11 from public sector, two were from private enterprises. The biggest interest for enterprises were Soil and Geology, Agriculture and Atmosphere. Startups were mostly interested in Ice (1) and Land (1). So, startups interests and needs can be quite unique. The need and service demand of their interests are grouped as follows:

  • Redistribute of Copernicus services
  • Provide value added services to a third party
  • Own use for project, work, research etc.
  • For a specific application or use case
  • Learn about Copernicus programme as no / very little knowledge, especially in private sector (approximately over 70%).

Future usage of EO in Estonia

In Estonia, most probably the potential usage of data and services will continue like the current usage listed above, and when there is need for more applications, they will be developed, but only if there is actual demand. There will be more demand on using Copernicus data and services in future and as a result of this demand, there will be more service providers with new innovative EO methods. There is definitely more need for analysis-ready data services, as users generally do not have competencies in Remote Sensing. We also see more future usage on areas like energy, tourism, natural hazards and extreme weather events, but also more complex use cases like support for the emergency, search and rescue and defense applications. The advanced applications could be developed also for the transport, unmanned robotic vehicles and similar industries.

Validity of results

In order to achieve the results, the following tasks were conducted:

  • Gathered end-user needs from EO industry
  • Categorised and sorted gathered needs
  • Assessed needs and made a gap analysis
  • Listed existing EO services with their categorization and potential sectors / domains where EO services needed
  • Provided all knowledge as EO innovations challenges to be developed within the BalticSatApps project.

BalticSatApps prepared two surveys with questions to gather end-user needs from EO industry. The project collected the answers to the surveys via (1) online forms (2) hard copy forms from the events organized or participated in by BalticSatApps project partners. The Estonian survey respondents represented different user categories as follows:

  • Companies – 14 respondents
  • Institutes (mostly research) – 21 respondents
  • Municipality – 19 respondents
  • Startups – 2 respondents.