New MOOC to bring AI and Copernicus data together

New MOOC to bring AI and Copernicus data together

New MOOC to bring AI and Copernicus data togetherAnnekatrien Debien
Thu, 09/09/2021 – 13:52

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly important part in our daily lives, whether it is providing us with our personalised social media feeds, online shopping or streaming movie suggestions, and it even powers the mapping apps that route us around traffic jams. On a bigger scale, AI has already had a major impact on healthcare, finance, farming and many other sectors and its influence is predicted to expand rapidly in the coming years. But one area where considerable untapped potential still exists for new AI applications is the field of Earth observation, where AI can be applied to help manage large datasets, find new insights in data and generate new products and services.

With this in mind, EUMETSAT, ECMWF, Mercator Ocean International and the EEA have joined forces to develop a new massive open online course (MOOC) on the applications of AI to Earth monitoring. This course will introduce participants to the wealth of Copernicus Earth observation data and the AI and machine learning techniques that can be used to work with it. By providing a round-up of the latest developments in AI and Earth observation, the course will help participants bridge the gap between Earth observation data and AI techniques and hopefully drive an array of innovative new uses of Copernicus data.



What does the MOOC cover?

The MOOC, AI for Earth Monitoring, will introduce participants to both the Copernicus Programme and AI and machine learning (as a subset of AI), with hands-on practical examples using ocean, atmosphere, terrestrial and climate data.

The course has been structured to be completed within six weeks, but it can be followed at the learners’ own pace. The first week of the MOOC serves as an introduction to Copernicus data and services and the WEkEO platform, which provides easy access to all Copernicus environmental data. It is followed by a week dedicated to AI and machine learning techniques that will then be put into practice in four subsequent thematical weeks covering oceans, the atmosphere, terrestrial and climate data.

This forward-thinking MOOC is hosted on the FutureLearn platform and consists of short interviews with leading experts in machine learning and Earth monitoring, as well as companies using machine learning techniques with Copernicus data. With more than 40 contributors, the course will give participants a new and timely overview of the latest advances and techniques in machine learning and Earth observation and monitoring.

Practical work using Jupyter notebooks

In addition to video content, the MOOC has also been designed to provide a strong hands-on element with the inclusion of a series of specially developed Jupyter notebooks that will guide course participants through the process of working with Copernicus data and new and exciting machine learning algorithms.

The Jupyter notebooks created using the Python programming language give examples of the different types of Copernicus data (ocean, atmosphere, land and climate) interfaced by machine learning algorithms. To make it easier to follow the notebooks, they are accompanied by dedicated video tutorials that have been produced to explain their contents in detail.

The notebooks and accompanying tutorials are hosted on the Copernicus WEkEO platform which provides free access to all Copernicus environmental data. WEkEO is the EU Copernicus DIAS reference service for environmental data, virtual processing environments and skilled user support. To interact with the notebooks online, participants will register on WEkEO with a free user account. 

The WEkEO data viewer


How long does the MOOC take to complete?

The course is structured to be followed over the course of six weeks — allowing 3–4 hours of study a week — but it will be available on FutureLearn for an entire year from the starting date of 18 October 2021. Once participants are registered for the course, they will be able to freely access all the material to follow the course and work with the Jupyter notebooks. The only cost of the MOOC exists for those participants who would like to receive an optional certificate of completion from FutureLearn, which is delivered against a fee of 25 euro.

Who has organised the MOOC?

The MOOC is funded by the European Commission’s Copernicus Programme and has been developed as a joint project with EUMETSAT, ECMWF, Mercator Ocean International and the EEA. These organisations also operate the Copernicus WEkEO platform.

Join the MOOC

The link to register for the MOOC can be found here:

Thu, 09/09/2021 – 12:00