Outcome of the EC-EARSC Workshop (In-situ and EO)

Synergy between all kind of observations – being from active or passive, wireless or wired, fixed or mobile, remote or in situ sensors ñ is primordial to support a better understanding of the complex interactions between human activities and environmental pressures and impacts.

This was the recurrent issue highlighted by a hundred of participants to the workshop jointly organised by the Information Society and Media Directorate-General (DG INFSO) of the European Commission and the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC).

This workshop held in Brussels – with no seat left – on 31 May 2007 was the 3rd in a series to gather stakeholders in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Environmental Risk Management. These experts, coming from industry, research centers, universities, space agencies and European organisations reported about ongoing activities and identified opportunities, issues and requirements for a smarter monitoring of our environment in relation to the goal of developing a Single Information Space for the Environment in Europe (SISE) and contributing to international initiatives like GMES and GEO

On the ICT side, it was stressed that we are in the middle of a wireless revolution which enables new applications of sensors and sensor networks. Important achievements in miniaturization of sensors (e.g. RFID) open the perspective for a massive deployment a small, cheap connected detectors.

Several European research projects are innovating in the field of network control strategies and data propagation. Others are developing adaptable and scalable system architectures to optimise the management of networks of heterogeneous sensors with easy plug-in / plug-out, self-healing and reconfigurable functionalities. Such developments points towards the same goal of smarter monitoring, with the possibility to lower the cost of monitoring and improve the quality and adequacy of data depending on the process which is monitored. In addition, new platforms like Unmanned Airborne Vehicles (UAV) are currently investigated for disaster management applications that could offer complementary spatial or temporal resolutions to existing fixed, sea, air and space platforms.

Overall, the participants recognised that above trends would lead to more data flows and stressed on the need for new developments in the fields of multiple source data fusion and standardisation. From an operational point of view, main identified challenges include robustness and stability of the emerging technologies for easy take-up and upgrade of legacy systems, accuracy and uncertainty propagation along the information cycle, as well as non-technical issues like the sustainability of monitoring networks over time and the human factor itself, perceived as a very limiting factor in the definition and deployment of a monitoring and alerting system.

Workshop report and PDF versions of the presentations made by the participants will be available from mid-June 2007 at:

For additional information, please contact by DG INFSO – unit “ICT for Sustainable Growth” by email at INFSO-ICTforSG@ec.europa.eu or EARSC at secretariat@earsc.org

(Source GMES)

PDF: ec-earsc-ws-final-report_en.pdf

Author: EARSC

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