Spending a day with Earth Observation

03 July 2019
Thanks to new datasets and advances in machine learning we are now living in a golden era for Earth Observation
Thanks to new datasets and advances in machine learning we are now living in a golden era for Earth Observation

At the ‘A Day with EO’ conference, held as part of the annual assembly of the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC), stakeholders from various sectors came together to discuss the multiple activities that have been made possible, or influenced by Earth Observation. At the event, GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides spoke about how the collective experience of the GSA’s market development team would be engaged to benefit the Copernicus programme.

In a series of panel discussions at the conference, stakeholders outlined how Earth Observation (EO) data is leveraged to improve efficiency and tackle a wide range of challenges – from food production and environmental protection to the built environment, security and the management of cultural heritage.

Golden era for EO

Will Marshall, founder and CEO of satellite designer Planet said that we are currently living in “a golden era for Earth Observation,” thanks to new datasets and advances in machine learning that enable more applications based on this data. “You can’t fix what you can’t see,” he said, adding that action to save the planet required data on a faster time-scale than the planet is changing.

In his presentation Patrick Child, Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), noted that if we are currently in the ‘golden era of EO’, then this is “precisely because we are facing some immediate and significant existential challenges for the planet, and EO will need to be a big part of the response to these challenges – in particular the challenge of climate change.”

Read this: EGNSS and EO: A promising convergence for sustainable development

Child noted that there was a strong and growing demand internationally for research and innovation and for EO in particular to bring solutions. He said that the EU was currently leading the global debate on climate change and sustainability. Child noted that the EU had made significant investment in developing its EO systems and was keen that this investment should bring benefits to European industry, which is ideally placed to rise to these challenges.

Kamil Kiljanski, Head of Unit for Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth at DG GROW, noted that, to reap the greatest benefits from EO data, it is important that it be combined with other data. He specifically noted the importance of interaction between the Copernicus and Galileo programmes.

Space Regulation

Kiljanski said that, with its new Space Regulation, the Commission was moving in this direction – more towards its traditional role of gatekeeper and market regulator, operating and exploiting the systems with the assistance of specialised agencies, in particular the European Union Agency for the Space Programme in Prague, the European Space Agency, Eumetsat and all the other entities involved in the delivery of Copernicus services.

“We are really looking forward to helping to make Copernicus an even bigger success than it is today,” GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides at ‘A Day with EO’


European GNSS Agency (GSA) Executive Director Carlo des Dorides confirmed that his agency is well placed to provide this assistance, in particular thanks to its market development team, whose work has made a significant contribution to the success of the Galileo programme. “Today we have close to one billion users worldwide. This is the most visible figure, but there are also success stories in the maritime sector, in civil aviation, in the automotive and rail sectors and many others,” des Dorides said.

And this: Space serving our blue planet

Des Dorides noted that the new Space Regulation would bring a horizontal dimension to the EU space programmes. “For the first time we have one regulation for both GNSS and Copernicus. This is important because it creates a uniform approach for the two programmes,” he said.

He stressed that the role of the GSA was to support the Commission, to support market development and to communicate about and promote the EU space programme, including Copernicus. “There are three main areas of focus along these lines, one is to adopt a user-centric approach, the second is to maximise the social and economic value of the Copernicus programme, leveraging all the services, and finally to develop the downstream segment using Horizon Europe,” he said, adding: “We are really looking forward to helping to make Copernicus an even bigger success than it is today.”

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

Updated: Jul 03, 2019



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