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Copernicus Research and User Support (RUS) celebrates its first anniversary

News | 31-08-18

The Copernicus Research and User Support (RUS) is a free-of-charge service funded by the European Commission. 

This free-of-charge service provides new Copernicus users – from academic and public institutions, start-ups, small and medium enterprises, and NGOs - with a cloud environment to store and process Copernicus data and information, a helpdesk service as well as online material, training sessions and webinars.

The Copernicus Research and User Support (RUS) is a free-of-charge service funded by the European Commission.  It offers a scalable cloud environment that enables users to remotely store and process Earth Observation (EO) data. This vast amount of free and open-source global data from Copernicus (which is produced at a rate of around 20 TB of data per day) comes from satellites, in addition to ground-based, airborne and seaborne measurement systems. To unleash the benefits of this data, the RUS Service also provides training sessions and webinars, as well as a helpdesk and a team of EO and IT experts who address user queries.

 

The Copernicus RUS service will celebrate its first year of operations in October and has already benefited more than 600 users worldwide. Offered at no cost, the service is available for a large community of users coming from academic and public institutions, small and medium enterprises, start-ups, and NGOs. They can use the service to develop and strengthen their skills on a variety of datasets, tools and applications, autonomously or with the support of the helpdesk and its team of experts. Communication tools with RUS experts include email, a chat service, a discussion forum as well as face-to-face training sessions and regular webinars – in short, everything needed to successfully support user activities.

To date, 13 face-to-face trainings and 14 webinars have been offered to RUS users. Past webinars are accessible through the RUS training portal or directly on the RUS YouTube channel. Topics covered include: ocean colour, ship and oil spill detection, flood mapping, post-earthquake mapping, subsidence monitoring, forestry and crop mapping, arctic lake and water bodies monitoring, urban area mapping, fire monitoring and burned area mapping. More topics will be addressed in the next years of operation, stay tuned!

One participant of the RUS webinar on Land Subsidence mapping with Sentinel-1 said: “This was an excellent tutorial, very clearly presented... Thank you very much for providing the excellent material.”

The service has shown an overall satisfaction rate of 90% since its inception.

A RUS user explained that the service “helped [him scale his] processes without worrying about installation of hardware... The access through a web browser made RUS simply accessible from anywhere while providing the comfort of a desktop interface. The Linux environment allowed easy installation of open source tools. Questions I asked the support staff were answered quickly and efficiently. Overall, a very recommendable service when dealing with large Copernicus datasets!”

Continuous upgrades have been made to the RUS platform, infrastructure, software and processes during the first year of operations. As of September 2018, the RUS platform will also allow the download of newly available Sentinel-5 data. Undoubtedly, as of this autumn, the integration of the RUS service into the different Data and Information Access Services (DIAS) as a third-party service will be the most notable evolution. Once this integration is completed, RUS users will benefit from faster access to the Copernicus data and service products than ever before!

Those interested in discovering and benefiting from the Copernicus data and services can register for the RUS service. Contact the RUS team through the portal to check the eligibility of your activities. General activities eligible for the RUS Service encompass Copernicus data discovery, algorithm and processing chain development (R&D) as well as academic activities. Although priority is given to users working for entities located in EU Member States and countries that have bilateral agreements with the EC, those coming from other countries are also eligible.

For example, Gabriela Quintana, a seismological researcher and active RUS user working in Venezuela, summarised the benefits of the service for users in Latin America countries. “To have a virtual work environment for the processing of Sentinel 1 images… in addition to having the necessary technical advice is extremely valuable – in particular for people with limitations in the acquisition of a personal computer with the minimum requirements necessary to perform processing. If you live in Venezuela as I do, you can understand that it is quite expensive. However, the Copernicus Programme, with RUS, gives us that opportunity. I can only be grateful for the support!”

This service is funded by the European Commission, managed by the European Space Agency and operated by a team of contractors led by Communications & Systèmes – Systèmes d’Informations (CS SI).