Editorial

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2018 has been another year of strong progress for the Association. In 2018 we have grown from 5 persons to 8 and are now looking for 2 more to join us. I emphasise that this has not been our goal – it is absolutely not our goal to grow; our goal is to do more for our members. To do this we pursue a mixed business model relying about 20% on membership fees and 80% on projects.

All the projects are aimed at supporting companies in the sector – our membership – and we shall not take on work which does not reflect this aim.
The volume of project work is increasing but so is our membership and for the moment we maintain this 20:80 ratio business model. It is very important that we maintain our membership-based model and this is a fundamental philosophy of EARSC now and in the future. It also means that we shall not compete with our members for work. The activity of an Association is quite distinct from those of the companies active in the sector. We aim to provide excellence to those companies providing geospatial services which form the Association and so far, I consider that we have been successful in that goal.

We are very excited about what we can do as a result of two new projects. But before talking about them, I want to turn to 2 other EARSC existing projects. The first is our biennial industry survey which was launched for the 4th time just before the end of last year. It is extremely important that we are able to gather statistics on the industry. The figures are much awaited by the policy makers who decide the activities and budgets for our sector. This year will be studied for the impact of the Copernicus programme on the sector. We see many new companies being formed and now we need to put some numbers behind the growth. If you are employed by a company then please take the few minutes it will take to complete at the least first part of the survey.
Then I am pleased to announce that eoMALL has gone live. The beta version was released a few days ago. This is another important project to create a marketplace for the EO services industry. Along with eoPages, eoMALL will be promoted as THE place to go to find the service to meet your needs. Please visit the site; provide us with some feedback and watch as more services and features are introduced through 2019.
Then, in the last 3 weeks of 2018, we have had news of 2 highly important wins of EC H2020 grants. One we are leading and in the second one, we are a leading partner in the team.

Both are now subject to grant negotiation so I shall not say more about them for now. One comes under the umbrella of Innovation Support where the EC are encouraging cross-sectorial innovation. We believe that we have a very exciting and innovative concept that should help over 100 companies directly to make better use of EO and especially Copernicus data.

The second will increase our market outreach activity where we look to promote the sector and its capabilities. Both are quite large and should enable us to make a strong impact.

Overall, I refer to these 2 activities as fulfilling a theme of “from research to business” with the goal to help as many of the pilots as possible to become business ventures. The two projects are very complementary and should re-enforce each other as well as our major initiative called eoMALL (which will go live very shortly). Both projects should start in the 2nd quarter and you will hear more about them in due course.