Copernicus Human Settlements Services (HSS)

logo of Copernicus

Copernicus is the European Union's Earth observation programme, looking at our planet and its environment. It offers information services that draw from satellite Earth Observation and in-situ (non-space) data. With the Sentinel suite of satellites, the European Copernicus program provides free and open satellite data for the Copernicus services and the scientific community. Also the monitoring of built-up and population by the GHSL project relies on the Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites. The GHSL data include a Sentinel-1 built-up layer for the reference year 2016 and a Sentinel-2 built-up layer for the reference year 2018.

The GHSL population and built-up area data are used in a number of operational products of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. In order to guarantee a regular update of the information, it is planned to integrate the production of global built-up area and population grids into the service. The new products will provide free, high quality standardized data about the status of human settlements and their dynamics both in terms of built-up and population. It will maximize the use of Copernicus Earth Observations missions (i.e. Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2) in conjunction with in-situ population data. The first products generated by Copernicus are expected for 2022.