Sen4CAP - Sentinels for Common Agriculture Policy

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union aims at improving the European agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner while ensuring a decent standard of living of farmers within the EU. With an annual budget of roughly €59 billion, the CAP strengthens the competitiveness and sustainability of agriculture in Europe by a range of measures including direct payments, market measures and rural development. The largest part of the CAP budget is managed and controlled through its Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) aiming to safeguard the CAP financials and supporting the farmers to submit their declarations. The IACS is implemented at national level through Paying Agencies of each EU member state. The current legal framework of the CAP from 2013 will be reformed by 2020 in order to modernize and simplify the CAP. In this upcoming CAP reform satellite Earth Observation (EO) is seen to take an increasing role for improving the IACS and making it more cost efficient.

The Sentinels for Common Agricultural Policy - Sen4CAP project aims at providing to the European and national stakeholders of the CAP validated algorithms, products, workflows and best practices for agriculture monitoring relevant for the management of the CAP. The project will pay particular attention to provide evidence how Sentinel derived information can support the modernization and simplification of the CAP in the post 2020 timeframe. 

Sen4CAP has been setup by ESA in direct collaboration and on request from DG-Agri, DG-Grow and DG-JRC. The European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, also endorsed the use of the Copernicus Sentinels within the CAP and announced the Sen4CAP project before the European Parliament. Read More

"...already Paying Agencies using data of the Sentinels [...] ESA has launched a tender Sen4CAP which will provide us useful knowledge and further possibilities on how we use Sentinel data in the context of the CAP"
Commissioner Phil Hogan at the European Parliament, May 2017


The Consortium performing the project is an international team of highly recognized scientific experts who will work together with trusted value-adding industrial companies. It is made of five companies/institutions with deep and complementary EO technical proficiency and strong IT expertise in developing Sentinels-based processing systems and wide and long-term activity in the Integrated Administration Control System (IACS) activities in various countries well distributed in the EU. In particular, it includes: Université catholique de Louvain - UCL (Belgium) as leading partner, CS Romania (Romania), GISAT (Czech Republic), e-GEOS (Italy) and Sinergise (Slovenia). The project is being developed in close collaboration with the national Paying Agencies from the 6 Pilot Countries and is continuously relying on the guidance of a Steering Committee composed of the EC actors of the CAP, namely representatives from DG-Agri (Unit D.3), DG-JRC (Food Security unit) and DG-Grow (Copernicus). The steering committee is providing advice and guidance to ESA on the evolving CAP policy and legal framework, the technical guidelines of the IACS implementation and the Copernicus context. Read More

Use Case Approach

Paying Agencies have to decide about the farmers’ compliance. Is the declaration compliant or not? What is the probability of non-compliance? Does the parcel management meet the requirements of particular subsidy scheme? Paying Agencies don’t need remote sensing products but tables or databases with agricultural practices information at the parcel-level, to be crosschecked with the farmer’s declaration to decide if the declaration is compliant or not, if we don’t know or if more information is needed. The “traffic light approach” is being currently discussed between the different actors of the CAP as a viable solution to provide this analysis. Read more

Pilot Countries

Czech Republic, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania and Spanish region Castilla y Leon have been selected as the pilot countries by the Steering Committee and ESA, in discussion with the Consortium. The main criteria for the selection was having the heterogeneous agricultural practices (e.g. field sizes, crops), landscape and climate presented within the EU. Read more


EO Products

The following Earth Observation products are being developed within the project: Cultivated crop type mapGrassland mowing productVegetation status indicatorAgricultural practices monitoring product, together with the Interactive visualization services for satellite imagery and use-case products. These products will build on an integrated use of both Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 data. They will be delivered in WGS84 and in national projections and in a standard and open format with associated metadata. Their performance will be validated against in-situ data when available through the prototyping and demonstration activities of this project, which will be documented in validation reports. Read more

In-situ Data

In-situ information about agricultural cropsgrasslands and agricultural practices represent the key reference datasets needed to benchmark & develop advanced image processing methods that shall provide EO products required in use cases defined within the project. Various datasets from 2016 and  2017 have been made available for the project purposes. Read More

EO Data Sources

The processing chains shall be adapted for high data volume processing and making synergistic use of the Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 as well as complementary satellites sensors, e.g. Landsat-8Read More

Landsat 8