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Applications of the Copernicus satellites

Discover the global vision that the Copernicus satellites provide on climate and environmental change, and different remote sensing techniques used to perform local studies.

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CIVIS focus area
Climate, environment and energy
Open to
  • Master's
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Environmental sciences, Urbanism, Geography
  • Short-term
  • CIVIS Hub 1
Course dates
28 June - 9 July 2021

Remote sensors are an essential tool for the global and local study of climate and environmental change. But to speak of remote sensors is to deal with a broad set of techniques, ranging from passive to active sensors, and from those that fly at near-surface heights to those that orbit Earth. The objectives of remote sensors are also multiple, from the analysis of land and oceans to the composition of gases in the atmosphere.

For this reason, the project presented is aimed at delving into various techniques, exploiting the specialization the team members have developed in different fields, but without forgetting the overall vision that the Copernicus project offers on climate and environmental change. Copernicus is the largest ever European investment in satellite capabilities providing six types of remote sensing satellite and a constellation of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) that will serve Europe into the 2030s. There is a demonstrable need for Copernicus training within academia and industry as evidenced by the Copernicus Academy Network and related activities of the Copernicus Office of the EU and national actors.

Objectives of the course

Show a set of techniques and processes to take advantage of the possibilities offered by remote sensing to address aspects of climate and environmental change, at a global and local level.

Structure of the course

This summer school will consist on the one hand of lectures given by the participant experts on remote sensing techniques applicable to the study of climate and environmental change and related phenomena, and on the other, of using those techniques in practical sessions to perform local studies focused on a different topic each summer school edition. Complimentary activities such as (virtual) visits to institutions or facilities relevant to the course topic are also planned.

It is divided into three thematic blocks. An initial thematic block focused on environmental characterization through remote sensors of the city that organizes the event (in this case Madrid region and Madrid city); a second block dedicated to the fundamentals and techniques of remote sensing (technological bases), and a third block focused on research and applications.

Practical details

  • Duration: 10 days (28 June - 9 July 2021), every day, from 2 pm to 5 pm
  • Evaluation Modalities: attendance
  • Application deadline: 21 May 2021

CIVIS member Universities involved

  • Jose Antonio Rodríguez-Esteban, Dept. of Geography, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Vicente Torres-Costa, Dept. of Applied Physics, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Zulimar Hernandez-Hernandez, Dept. Geography, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Felipe Yunta Mezquita, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Dept. of Agricultural Chemistry and Food Science.
  • Emmanuel Vassilakis, Dept. of Geography & Climatology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Taïs Grippa, Dept. of Geosciences, Universite Libre de Bruxelles
  • Eleonore Wolff, Dept. of Geosciences, Universite Libre de Bruxelles
  • Ian Brown, Dept. of Physical Geography, Stockholms Universitet

This course is open to all CIVIS MA students and young researchers in related fields.

For more information about the selection process, please refer to the dedicated section. 
  • Jose Antonio Rodríguez-Esteban, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Dept. of Geography
    GIS + Remote Sensing (Geospatial techniques); cities in various processes (imperviousness, roofs, vegetation…); dunes, salt marshes, vegetation and cities in desert areas.
  • Vicente Torres-Costa, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Dept. of Applied Physics
    Physics and technical fundamentals of remote sensors, sensor development, multi/hyper spectral remote sensing.
  • Zulimar Hernández-Hernández, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Dept. of Geography
    Soil salinity, volcanism in the Atlantic islands.
  • Felipe Yunta Mezquita, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Dept. of Agricultural Chemistry and Food Science.
    Remote sensing in the study of soil in agriculture and the environment
  • Emmanuel Vassilakis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athen, Dept. of Geography & Climatology
    Coastal erosion with the use of optical data-dense time series; drone VHR imaging for mapping ancient tsunami deposits; terrestrial LiDAR is also available for use in the educational procedure.
  • Taïs Grippa, Université libre de Bruxelles, Dept. of Geosciences
    Urban geography; Sub-Saharan African cities; GIS and optical remote sensing; Open-source software (QGIS, GRASS GIS); Automated object-based image analysis for VHR imagery (big data); Land use & land cover mapping; Machine Learning and Deep Learning; Volunteered geographic information (OSM).
  • Eleonore Wolff, Université libre de Bruxelles, Dept. of Geosciences
    Urban geography; Sub-Saharan African cities; GIS and optical remote sensing; Object-based image analysis; Land use & land cover mapping.
  • Ian Brown, Stockholms Universitet, Dept. of Physical Geography,
    Synthetic aperture radar, mangrove forests, environmental and climate change.

Candidates selection criteria. Applications are welcome from geography and climatology, geosciences, and environmental sciences, and have taken courses on geospatial techniques and remote sensing. Applicants should be students at one of the CIVIS member Universities (exceptionally, master and doctoral students from other universities may be accepted).  Applicants should send their short CV indicating the geospatial subjects taken and/or their link with remote sensing applications.

Point of contact for additional question/information: (only important questions).

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