On the 20th and 21st of June EARSC held the first edition of our annual EXPANDEO event, bringing together the Earth Observation market. In total, the event saw 160 attendees that either work in the EO industry, are institutional stakeholders or others who are affiliated with the Earth Observation Sector. This year was a special edition for EARSC since we also celebrated our 30 years anniversary! We also and had an extra 3 (total of 5) awards to present during our annual cocktail event!
During the first day (June 20) we organised parallel workshops to cover some themes that we felt could be of benefit for EO service providers.
The first workshop was organised under the OCRE Project. We were delighted that the OCRE team joined us to inform conference delegates from EO Services companies on the opportunity offered to provide services to European researchers through the European Open Science Cloud. This excellent initiative was joined by representatives of the DIAS operators to explain how their services could be integrated. Keep a close lookout on the OCRE project website for a press release on the outcomes. The presentations of all speakers can be find on the event page.
During the second half of the day we had two workshops for EARSC Members. The first was a workshop on Local & Regional Authorities. Given that local and regional authorities have specific needs and requirements regarding EO based services concerning for instance the compliance with EU Directives or the slow uptake of space solutions, EARSC – on the initiative of Marc Tondriaux – has decided to start a new local authorities working group.
The second workshop in the afternoon was the Small Company Forum (SCF). Small companies were asked which topics they would like to address, and it was agreed that the themes would be digitalisation and how to transform your pre-commercial product into a commercial product. This was followed by a fascinating exchange of stories from 3 companies on their origins. Rupert Haydn told how he had formed GAF in 1985 (and reminded us that he did not even have a computer at that time!), Giovanni Sylos talked about the formation of Planetek 10 years later and how he had been inspired by GAF, and then moving forward to 2012, Will Marshall talked about how he had founded Planet Labs. Everyone really appreciated to hear their stories and we were all disappointed to not have more time!!
In the evening of the 20th we held our anniversary cocktail where also 5 companies were awarded. More on the award in the dedicated press release -> here.
But the highlight of EXPANDEO was the ‘A day with EO’ conference. During the event we walked through a normal day, stopping at all activities that have been made possible, or influenced by, EO products. The conference kicked off with speeches of our keynote speakers. Patrick Child who is the deputy director-general of DG Research & Innovation started the day, followed by Philippe Brunet of DG DEVCO, Kamil Kiljanski of DG GROW and Will Marshall of Planet Labs. Carlo Des Dorides of the GNSS Agency also gave a short introduction on his activities before the first break.
After the break we went into several topics related to every-day life covering; Food & the Environment, Humans in a Build Environment, and Our Heritage & Security. The presentations will be published on the EXPANDEO website later this week for those that missed the conference.
Overall can we conclude from the preliminary feedback that the first EXPANDEO event was a great success, marking an important step in the growth of the importance of Earth Observation. We look forward to repeating the success next year! And last but not least, we want to thank all presenters and attendees for their presence.
If you have any suggestions for us for our next edition in 2020 please reach out to us (info[at]earsc.org) and we are happy to brainstorm with you!