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News article29 October 2020

Copernicus Emergency Management Service grows with new products and trainings at annual Mapping Workshop

Group photo of participants from Copernicus Emergency Management's annual workshop
© Copernicus EMS © 2020 EU

Disaster and risk management professionals from across and outside the EU participated in this year’s virtual workshop of the Mapping component of Copernicus Emergency Management (CEMS) that includes Rapid Mapping, Risk & Recovery Mapping and Validation components.


  • New products and service evolutions were introduced, including the time-saving process of Pretasking where satellite images of forecasted disasters are gathered in near real time.
  • Virtual trainings enabled new users to utilize CEMS data for the specific civil protection needs of their region.
  • Service providers gathered feedback and input directly from users to help evolve their practice.

The Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) supports all actors involved in the management of natural or manmade disasters by providing geospatial data and images for informed decision making. The mapping component of the service provides users with on-demand satellite images to gain a unique perspective of a disaster event.

The annual workshop involved the service’s authorised and end users who represent the first point of contact in an emergency event or risk scenario, as well as the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the Directorate-General for Defense Industry and Space, the European External Action Service and service providers. CEMS showcased new processes and updates to features that bolster their capacity to provide immediate and accurate geospatial information to inform decision making throughout the emergency management cycle.

Service insights and evolutions

A packed agenda of trainings and presentations from each of the three Mapping modules equipped participants with new insights and catalyzed discussions about the future of the service. Event participants gained unique insights directly from CEMS scientists and management about advances in operational procedures and portfolio developments. Feedback from participants provided valuable input into the future needs of users.

Around 39% of User participants had never used the mapping component of the service. In an effort to help novice service users navigate the service, the multitude of tools and products that EMS provides were simplified through presentations and games. Exposition on the dynamic service components helped clarify how to best utilize the service for disaster risk, response, and recovery efforts. Participants engaged in a dialogue on how to leverage the service according to their unique regional and organizational needs. Finally, our Service Providers had the chance to hear directly from the users about their expectations and testimonies.

Geoinformation training for disaster risk, reponse and recovery

This was the first CEMS-Mapping annual workshop held virtually. Its unusual format came with benefits and challenges. Some participants missed the group dynamics of in-person meetings and breakout sessions. Restrictions on face-to-face interaction were supplemented with engaging virtual discussions where all were invited to exchange ideas. The virtual format also allowed for twice the number of participants to attend, 100 this year, inviting new perspectives with colleagues from across the globe. Overall, the lively virtual chat and easy access to access materials made for an engaging and fruitful workshop. Participants commented:

An excellent opportunity for the ones that usually don't have a frequent contact with CEMS to get a useful overview of capabilities and so on.”

“Good experience, great topics and punctual timing. Thanks to the whole JRC team (and others also). Grazie, Merci, Gracias...keep up the good work and stay healthy.”

“We get new ideas, how to use the service better, and use the data (vector files) in our GIS.”

For updates on our service and invites to future events, follow us on Twitter here and visit our CEMS mapping portal.


Publication date
29 October 2020