Published on 5 June 2020
The coronavirus pandemic constitutes an unprecedented challenge with severe societal and socio-economic consequences. In order to shed new light on these changes taking place, ESA and the European Commission have worked closely together to create the ‘Rapid Action Coronavirus Earth observation’ dashboard – also known as RACE. The platform, which was unveiled today during an online event, uses Earth observation satellite data to measure the impact of the coronavirus lockdown and monitor post-lockdown recovery.
The dashboard allows for the monitoring of key environmental parameters – such as air and water quality changes, economic and human activities including industry, shipping, construction, traffic, as well as agricultural productivity.
One of the platform’s features allows for the tracking of air pollution worldwide. Using data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, the map shows the averaged nitrogen dioxide concentrations over major cities and regions across the world.
The RACE dashboard also shows how artificial intelligence can be used to monitor economic indicators. ESA’s Director for Earth Observation, Josef Aschbacher, presented two examples of how the combination of artificial intelligence along with commercial satellite data can be used to monitor production changes in the volume of cars at a car manufacturer in Germany, as well as the monitoring of plane traffic at Barcelona Airport.