GMES in brief

?¨GMES in Brief?Æ answers in an understandable way questions that everyone may have about GMES. If you want to know more on the responses, click on: ?¨What is GMES??Æ, How did GMES start??Æ, ?¨Whom GMES is addressed??Æ, ?¨What uses can be made of GMES services??Æ, ?¨What services will be provided by GMES??Æ, ?¨What is the context of GMES??Æ on the following page
GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) is a European initiative for the implementation of information services dealing with environment and security.
GMES will be based on observation data received from Earth Observation satellites and ground based information. These data will be coordinated, analysed and prepared for end-users.
Through GMES the state of our environment and its short, medium and long-term evolution will be monitored to support policy decisions or investments.
GMES is a set of services for European citizens helping to improve their quality of life regarding environment and security.
GMES will be built up gradually: it starts with a pilot phase which targets the availability of a first set of operational GMES services by 2008 followed by the development of an extended range of services which meet user requirements.
From years of research in the fields of science and technology associated with the observation and the understanding of the processes and phenomena of the terrestrial environment derived in 1998 the idea to launch GMES. By a combination of measurements at terrestrial level and from space, it rapidly became clear that new operational services could be offered in fields such as oceanography, precise mapping of land use, rapid mapping at times of emergency for the civil protection field or air quality monitoring.
Today, the progressive implementation of GMES is jointly supported by the European Commission (representing the 25 (+2) Member States of the European Union) and the European Space Agency (ESA), which complements the activities and investments of all the European actors involved in understanding our planet with the development of the Space Component of GMES.
GMES will provide the basis for structures able to assemble the measurements, have the means of their acquisition and treatment, and make them easy to share and exploit by a large number of users.
GMES is the European solution to respond to the needs of citizens in Europe to access reliable information on the status of their environment.
GMES will mainly support decision-making by both institutional and private actors. Decisions could concern either new regulations to preserve our environment or urgent measures in case of a natural or man?±made catastrophes (i.e. floods, forest fires, water pollution).
But to take decisions, it is necessary to anticipate, intervene and control.
GMES will integrate these functions by assembling the information acquired in a reliable, valid and compatible manner and make them available for user friendly exploitation. The services will be used by environmental agencies, local, regional and national authorities, civil protection organisations, etc.
The new observation techniques and analysis of data will permit these actors to better anticipate potential threats, to intervene timely and to increase the efficiency of the intervention.
GMES answers primarily needs of European citizens and general interest, which meet the requests of public institutions. These are necessary for the implementation of public policies at European or national level that deal with, for example, agriculture, environment, fisheries, or regional development, external relations, security.
From these services of general interest, other customised interests can be addressed, such as:
* Economic needs developed by the private sector as part of a commercial activity. In this case, ?¨made-to-measure products?Æ will respond to specific needs either from a group of economic actors or at individual level.
* Numerous Non-Governmental Organisations as well as other private organisations active in the fields of development aid.
The services provided by GMES can be classified in three major categories:
* Mapping, including topography or road maps but also land-use and harvest, forestry monitoring, mineral and water resources that do contribute to short and long-term management of territories and natural resources. This service generally requires exhaustive coverage of the Earth surface, archiving and periodic updating of data.
* Support for emergency management in case of natural hazards and particularly civil protection institutions responsible for the security of people and property. This service concentrates on the provision of the latest possible data before intervening.
* Forecasting is applied for marine zones, air quality or crop yields. This service systematically provides data on extended areas permitting the prediction of short, medium or long-term events, including their modelling and evolution.
The widespread and regular availability of technical data within GMES will allow a more efficient use of the infrastructures and human resources. It will help the creation of new models for security and risk management, as well as better management of land and resources.
GMES is the European participation in the worldwide monitoring and management of our planet Earth and the European contribution to GEO. The global community acts together for a synergy of all techniques of observation, detection and analysis.
At the World Summit on Earth Observation in Washington in July 2003, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) was established, with the goal of addressing the information requirement for the environment on a global scale. This work was completed in Brussels in February 2005 by the adoption of a 10 year implementation plan of an integrated Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).
The GEOSS is an ambitious programme of information for ecological security and durable development intended for mankind. It principally foresees the monitoring and understanding of nature, the extent of disasters due to human activities, the impact of global warming, desertification, erosion and deforestation.
GMES will be the main European contribution to GEOSS.
(Credits GMES.INFO)
Author: EARSC

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