Monitoring the Earth: the key contribution of Industry

Earth Observation is at a turning point world wide. The awareness of the risks inherent to an uncontrolled development of human activities has led to environmental protocols and to the setup of new partnership, such as Global Environment Outlook Support System (GEOSS), to develop synergies between available capabilities internationally. The recent catastrophic events resulting from the Indian Ocean tsunami as well as the more regular environmental crises worldwide, due in particular to El Nino and Global Warming to name just a few, have reinforced this awareness and require the quick definition and development of a proper international framework for crisis warning and management.

The European GMES initiative (Global Monitoring of Environment and Security) is particularly timely. It has already gathered substantial momentum through the actions of the European Union and European Space Agencies and through the wide ranging participation of European industry. Indeed European Remote Sensing companies have all the competence and experience needed for a successful GMES. This encompasses in-situ, airborne and spaceborne sensor deployment, ground infrastructures and data processing, value added data production and interpretation, extending to aid for Environment and Security decision-making.

However GMES is a complex undertaking which needs a sustained backing to become a success story and a definitive European asset. European Industry and the European environmental community at large have high stakes in the next European Ministerial conference in early 2006, and high hopes for the full support to the development of all the components of the GMES information chain. Having invested for decades in this domain, European Remote Sensing Industries are ready for this socio-economic and technical challenge.

Author: EARSC

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