Earth observation and the Big Data it produces hold huge potential for the creation of innovative products and services. Myriad industries and areas of public interest stand to profit from the advances of the Copernicus programme.


AZO has launched the Copernicus Masters in 2011 on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and with strong support of world-class partners as part of their mission to foster the User Uptake of Copernicus services. The Copernicus Masters is an international competition which awards prizes to innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data. The Copernicus Masters has developed into the moving force of promoting cutting-edge solutions. Annually, different prize categories tackle global challenges with revolutionary competition entries in the fields of deep learning, the IoT, big data analytics, smart mobility and industry 4.0 – just to name a few.

After receiving more than 900 submissions from nearly 60 countries, the organisers have selected and rewarded 50 winners over the past six years. These services offer an exciting glimpse into the future of Copernicus services along the entire value chain and affirm the growing importance of Earth observation in virtually every sphere of our daily lives.

A number of participants have already turned their winning applications into market-ready products. Previous winners have thus demonstrated the Copernicus Masters’ ability to foster the development of value-added downstream services in various service domains of the Copernicus programme and stimulate economic growth, especially in Europe.

Since its inception, the Copernicus Masters has evolved into a unique global initiative for Earth observation by bundling a wide variety of knowledge and expertise. It has proven to be both one of the strongest catalysts of cutting-edge applications in Earth observation technology and fertile ground for successful start-up companies.

As part of the ESA Business Incubation programme (at ESA BIC Bavaria), AZO also offers space for innovation in areas that are already shaping the future – the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, smart cities, and renewable energy, for example. Both in the competition and at the ESA BIC facilities, the competition’s organisers have seen interest grow in the commercialisation of Copernicus services in recent years and are confident that this success story will continue following the imminent launch of further Sentinel satellites.