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Lithuania formally joining the Copernicus user club

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On January 12, 2017, the National Land Service of Lithuania under the Ministry of Agriculture – an institution responsible for implementation of geospatial information procurement and geospatial information policy coordination in Lithuania – hosted a formal hearing about “Feasibility study of Sentinel satellite mapping usage for the detection of abandoned arable land”.

The study, executed and delivered by GEOMATRIX UAB, a Copernicus Relay in Lithuania, showed findings regarding the use of Sentinel products for mapping of abandoned arable land. The main goal of the study was to develop automated processing algorithms and carry out testing of the use of Sentinel data for detection and mapping of abandoned or under-exploited arable land. The study also compared Sentinel-2 imagery with the commercial products used since 2011 for annual updates of the National abandoned arable land database.

The results were highly favourable for the Sentinel products and were positively evaluated by a group of experts representing key stakeholders from several institutions under the Ministry of Agriculture. It was formally decided to develop a national archive of production-ready Sentinel imagery with open access for the public and, most importantly, to start using Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 products at a national level for all geospatial applications related to agriculture, forestry and environment protection. The implementation process will start early this year – so Lithuania is formally joining the Copernicus user club thanks to the availability of the full, free and open data.

Anzelma Ūselienė, the coordinator at the International Collaboration department of the Lithuanian Science, Innovation and Technology Agency, expressed her enthusiasm about the Copernicus Programme development in Lithuania: This kind of success stories prove that Copernicus contributes towards the development of new innovative applications and services, tailored to the needs of specific groups of users. It supports the efforts to identify, respond and adapt to global phenomena. Furthermore thanks to the full, free and open data policy it gives rise to new value-added applications, uses and markets, stimulates companies to explore new fields, business opportunities and fosters job creation.

Below is a list of information services based on Sentinel products that will be fully implemented on a national scale in 2017:

  • Mapping of abandoned and under-exploited arable land
  • Detection of arable land with faulty drainage infrastructure
  • Operational monitoring of farming activities for Common Agricultural Policy subsidies control

A new service requested by the Lithuanian Environment Agency and currently under development:

  • Operational monitoring and assessment of biophysical conditions of wetlands and peatlands
  • Operational monitoring of forest clear-cuts and re-forestation

The Lithuanian government is taking steps to take agricultural policy and environment management into the space age. It is an excellent example of how a government is embracing Copernicus-based technological advancements to foster industrial innovation, sustainable management of the environment, preserving natural resources and building a better future for its citizens.

SOURCE: Copernicus website