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Our association is nearing the one hundred members level and in the wake of the EoVox analyses we are considering some important evolutions in the way we carry our association business. Such evolutions relate in particular both to increasing our action potential and to get more of the influence expected from us through better visibility and presence. An evolution plan elaborated by a dedicated working group which met several times during the past year will be submitted for a vote to the members at the next General Assembly on July 4th in Brussels.
The proposed changes are very substantial and fully justify your educated presence and the resulting essential feedback that you must provide. This next General Assembly will also be marked by the presence of high executives from top European public institutions which will contribute to make that day a very fruitful one and a not to be missed occasion.
This General Assembly will bring to a close a business year marked by progress on several fronts for the European involvement in the use of Earth Observation for the monitoring of the environment. On the political front, with more in-depth discussions on the various governance issues, on the economic and financial fronts with clarifications of budget lines at ESA and EU, or on the technical and thematic fronts with the taking off of the Sentinel satellites programme and the development of the Fast Track services. The events of this spring, the GMES conference under German presidency in Munich, the ESA ENVISAT conference in Montreux, and the next EURISY meeting on May 29th and 30th in Barcelona on “Future Challenges for Local and Regional Authorities: How can Space Technology help”, all point towards this same direction. Last and certainly not least EARSC is organising on May 31st in partnership with the EU DG INFSO a strategically important event for GMES, gathering in Brussels the in-situ and remote sensing communities. This event entitled “In-situ monitoring and Earth observation in the framework of GMES and GEOSS” will be the precursor of a stronger involvement of EARSC in the links with the in-situ communities.
Even if these steps are encouraging, our vigilance should not weaken. GMES is a very complex initiative and our support must not fail. GMES is a chance for Europe as well as for sustainable development at large within the GEOSS framework
We look forward to seeing you at the next EARSC events and to listen to your opinions and recommendations.
With best wishes to you all.
On behalf of the Board
EARSC Chairman

Earth monitoring is no longer a domain of interest for the specialists. Getting acquainted with the climate change and its impact on growth and development, with the economic challenges of achieving stabilisation of greenhouses in the atmosphere, and with the tools used to monitor the planet, is becoming natural for the common citizen of Planet Earth. This is due in particular both to the huge proportions of the recent natural disasters (tsunamis, floods, global warming,…) and to the quick and large dissemination of data around the globe. But this acquaintance with the environmental problems is now also a fact in the industrial world.
More and more, companies in the insurance, off-shore, food, mining, transport, civil engineering, tourism (to name just a few) sectors are attempting to capitalise on the new information that Earth monitoring techniques are able to provide them with. Slowly but surely more and more systems are being set up to monitor the Earth both in-situ and from remote sensing. The GMES (Global Monitoring Environment and Security) program in Europe and GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) worldwide are clearly now on their way. The first call for proposals in the EU 7th Framework Program Space element is now issued and contains a strong support for GMES. On the European Space Agency side the studies to develop the Sentinels satellites are well under way. On the users side several important meetings will take place in 2007 to advance in this endeavour. The next EURISY meeting (also supported by EARSC) on April 16-17 in Barcelona on “Future Challenges for Local and Regional Authorities: How can Space Technology help”, the ENVISAT symposium in Montreux in April 23-26 and the EARSC meeting on the “In-situ monitoring and Earth observation in the framework of GMES and GEOSS” in the end of May (31st) will all participate to awaken even more the community at large to the issues and to the possible solutions to more effectively protect the Earth and benefit from it.
This year will also be a crucial one to prepare the ESA Ministerial conference of 2008. It will also be the time to prepare for the ESA Value-Adding Element of EOEP 3, which is currently being shaped.
Last but not least EARSC will contribute to this wide scale take-off with its new Working Groups. Their first meeting on January 18th have each been attended by more than twenty members which shows both that our industry is conscious of the challenges ahead and that the companies are ready to be pro-active.
With those encouraging facts we look forward to have you join us in the exciting developments due to unfold in our domain.
With best wishes to you all.
On behalf of the Board
EARSC Chairman

Thanks to the participation of a large number of Value-Adding companies and the provision of excellent facilities by ESA in Frascati, the EOVOX Stakeholders consultation Workshop has been a success with very interesting presentations and round tables, and tangible results in particular in the form of an agreement on a wide ranging Position Paper, a Declaration endorsed by the participants and a roadmap for the development of our industry.
The Declaration on the required public financing for the preservation and development of the European Earth Observation value-adding industry will be presented to European political institutions to be taken into account in the definition of the 7th Framework Programme financing procedures.
In particular EARSC as a European Trade Association has already begun to take professional lobbying action for the preservation and development of the EO VA Industry. In the very near future EARSC will take over the recommendations elaborated by the EOVOX project and will update you on the specific actions it is taking to coordinate these efforts. As we move forward with these plans, we will do in a dialog form, and united by a commitment to working in partnership with industry and stakeholders.
This Stakeholders Consultation Workshop has demonstrated once more that the Earth Observation and Geo-Information domains are strongly intertwined. Estimation of market revenues for one can be hardly separated from market revenues for the other.
The difficulty of developing an appropriate business model for these still emerging applications is one of the key challenges to tackle in the coming years. This is definitely an area where EARSC as a Trade Association will have a role to play and where the input from all the members will be most welcome.
We could also note in the EOVOX workshop itself that new actors in our landscape such as Microsoft and Oracle, to name just a couple of the biggest, are showing high interest in our domain, each one for its own business objectives and strategies, as expected in the real business world.
Once again I would like to invite EARSC members to join our working groups, the activities of which are essential in a time of strong evolution of our association.
Looking forward to seeing you at our next events and to receive all your comments and suggestions in the mean time.
With best regards from the Board.
EARSC Chairman
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A very hectic business year is getting to a close with well deserved vacation time in front of us. One of the last events was the Annual General Meeting of the Association. Among the highlights were a good attendance, actually the best ever, and a very interesting and exciting keynote talk on Microsoft Virtual Earth by VEXCEL, a new subsidiary of Microsoft.
The world of value-adding in Earth Observation is really changing very quickly now and the opportunities for new entrants are considerable. Even more so since important initiatives to help entrepreneurs and start-ups with incubator financing have been launched by the EC and ESA. The INNOVA, INVESAT and FINANCESAT frameworks for example, in addition to existing financial tools put in place by the EC in the previous years, are making easier for new ventures to take off. The domain of space based applications, whether using telecommunications, navigation, Earth Observation techniques or, more and more, some combination of them, is definitely on the rise with plenty of opportunities for new services.
Actually such a boiling synergy will induce an evolution and restructuring of our industry and of its representation. Such topics have been discussed at the EARSC workshop in Paris in March 2006, and will be elaborated further in the next workshop, the Stakeholders Consultation workshop which will cover both VA Industry representation and the Roadmap for Growth. This might well generate a strong new impetus not only for our association but also for the European VA sector in general so that your presence is essential.
In addition to those encouraging steps, all of us must keep in mind the need to strongly support the development of public investment in GMES and we add thus a wish for a positive issue of the budget discussions for the GMES-services inside FP7.
Last but not least, on behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to thank the members for their trust and for renewing our mandate at this last AGM. In the same time I would like to stress that opportunities to join our working groups and our Board always exist and that our Board is looking eagerly at any new marks of enthusiasm or initiatives from our members in these directions.
Waiting for some more expression of these interests I would like personally, as well as on behalf of the Board of Directors, to wish you a relaxing and fruitful vacation.
Looking forward to start the new business year with you at the Consultation workshop on September 14th, 2006 in FRASCATI,
EARSC Chairman
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GMES is on the headlines in these first months of 2006. Indeed several high level workshop have been taking place, in Toulouse, Paris, Budapest and most recently in Graz. We are providing you with access to their respective contents through our Web Site.
The Paris Workshop in particular, organised by EARSC was dedicated to the role of industry in GMES, a topic which deserves more attention than what was provided so far. Considering the fact that in a large part the success of GMES and GEOSS hinges on a proper and efficient role of industry, it was high time for industry to get together to evaluate the present situation, to make an overall assessment of GMES/GEOSS opportunities in terms of socio – economic and industrial terms as well as to study an action plan which would allow industry to play a role in insuring the success of these initiatives. The event was very well attended and generated ten main recommendations which were fed, on the one hand into the Budapest workshop on “GMES Socio-Economic Benefits”, and on the other hand into the Graz Symposium on “A Market for GMES in Europe and its regions”. In parallel with this gathering of momentum, some initiatives are being launched to find a better name for GMES, an essential step to allow a wide communication on the subject.
While GMES is on the rise, the same can be said of GEOSS, with international relations in Earth Observation getting stronger every day, in the scientific, operational as well as commercial domains (as shown with this month OrbView-3 data buy from the EU).
The global Earth Observation market evolution is nowadays also finding some of its flagship on the Internet with the new GOOGLE Earth and MSN Virtual Earth ventures. These could create new paradigms for the future of the Earth Observation industry. We will continue to keep you posted on those developments through our web site and our newsletter.
In the meantime and on behalf of our Board of Directors I would like to invite all our members to the Annual General Assembly which will take place in Brussels at the end of June with, as usual, a presentation by a Keynote speaker.
We also would like to invite you to participate in the EOVox Stakeholder Workshop which will take place on September 14th at ESRIN and which is dedicated to a wide consultation of the EO industry on industry representation issues. It will be a unique opportunity to interact with most of the EO downstream industry players”.
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Paul Kamoun
EARSC Chairman

Thanks to your involvement the year 2005 has been very fruitful for our association and for the development of Earth Observation in Europe.
After a successful organisation of our industrial workshop in the
Earth and Space Week in Brussels in February, the year has been a very
active one with strong involvement in several events as well as with
contribution to numerous policy debates. Moreover EARSC has seen the
largest increase in membership in our history, with our association
being today seventy members strong and growing.
The year has also been marked by a narrow interaction with the EU as well as with ESA. The eoVox
initiative with ESA, launched in the end of 2005 and described on our
web site is expected to be another breakthrough to improve even further
the representation of European Earth Observation Industry in a variety
of contexts.
As in 2005, one of the main challenges in
2006 will be the continuous development of GMES and GEOSS. At the last
ESA Ministerial Conference in December 2005, delegations have given
financial backing to the first segment of deployment of GMES Sentinels
satellites. It generates strong hopes in the EO community at large, a
community which now awaits from the EU the sizeable commitment which
will really make GMES a flagship of Europe.
The Ministerial Conference was also
successful in securing the next slice of the Earth Observation Envelope
Program (EOEP3), the essential scientific upstream component of Earth
Observation. As far as the downstream EO Market Development (EOMD)
component, Industry reaffirms its support for its continued financing
on a level similar to its EOEP2 level.
We thank you again for your support and
hope to see you at our next EARSC Workshop which will take place on
March 20th , 2006, in Paris and which will be dedicated to looking into
Industry Role to Foster GMES Socio – Economic Benefits”.
On behalf of our Board of Directors I would like to wish all our members a successful year.
Paul Kamoun
EARSC Chairman

The last few weeks have seen an accumulation of natural disasters. In particular the tropical storms KATRINA, RITA, WILMA and the like have left tremendous amounts of death and destruction on the American continent. But this is only the most visible consequences of a general trend. Humankind has now to face the fact that Global Change is not a remote scientific concept. It is here all around us from tropical storms to desertification, from receding glaciers to sea level change, from atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increase to global temperature changes and with a variety of other observations.
Although remote sensing is recognised as the most suitable
technique to make global observations of our planet a lot remains to be
done to gather, process and exploit enough data to give us a clear
picture of what the future has in stock for us. It is thus a core
strategic objective of our association to raise awareness on the needs,
and to do everything possible to foster the development of new Earth
observation systems as well as the development of large scale data
processing and exploitation. This objective is being implemented
through implication in GMES and GEOSS in particular. Thus the present
period of emergence of GMES and GEOSS is a unique opportunity for our
members to take an active part in the exploration of our own planet and
to help prepare a better future. This can be done through participation
in our working groups, through preparation of position papers, through
implementation of workshops and through any other relevant means.
EARSC, together with its institutional partners, must be at the
forefront of the struggle to help mankind reap the full benefits that
Earth Observation can bring in improving the life of the citizen. The
increase in the number of our members in 2005 is showing that this role
of EARSC is taking a stronger shape. Do not wait anymore to suggest and
start new initiatives within our association, or to join it if this is
not yet done, and play your part in what is certainly one of the most
exciting challenges of the coming century: the understanding of our own
planet and the protection of life on it.
EARSC Chairman
(Photo credits ESA)

For this second issue of EARSC Newsletter I am happy to have the pleasure to especially welcome all of our new members as readers and contributors to eomag.
In this issue of eomag we continue to
present interviews with important stakeholders of the future
development of European Earth Observation. You will find interesting
interviews with ESAs Earth Observation Director, Dr. Volker Liebig, and
ESAs representative at the European Commission, Dr. Michel Verbauwhede.
Important issues for ESAs Ministerial in the end of this year are the
long-term budgets for the Earth Observation Envelope Programme and the
GMES Space Component. A secured data provision from relevant Earth
Observation sensors is crucial for service providers as well as for
user organisations.

At the EARSC Annual Meeting on June 30
some 20 members had the pleasure to receive presentations from Steffano
Bruzzi, Head of the ESA Coordination Office and co-leader of the GMES
Programme Office and Dr. Steve Coulson, Head of the ESA Earth
Observation Market Development Programme. All contact persons at member
companies should already have received these presentations via e-mail,
if not you can always contact EARSC Executive Secretary.

We also continue to present a member
profile in each eomag issue. In this issue you will learn more about
one of our Dutch members, NEO, established in 1996. With more than 50
members from 13 European countries, and still growing, such a specific
presentation of our members will take some time. Therefore, I also
welcome you to visit the EARSC web-site, www.earsc.org, where you can
find short presentations of all EARSC members. The member contributions
to eomag, especially concerning news from members, have grown
substantially. You will find about 15 pages with interesting reading
from our members. This is highly appreciated, and I would like to
encourage you to continue to send contributions to EARSC Executive
Secretary.

The period for summer vacations still
vary a lot on the European continent, but I could see a tendency in
northern Europe to more and more “adapt” to southern European periods.
However, in Sweden for example we still regard end of June, July, and
early August as the period of preference for our 4-5 weeks vacation.
Therefore, I would like to welcome some of you back from a relaxing
vacation and at the same whishing the best for those of you that soon
will start your vacation. This autumn will for sure be interesting and
important from an Earth Observation point of view. EARSC will take an
active part in the forthcoming discussions, and will do its best to
represent the views of our members.

Stigbjörn Olovsson

Vice-Chairman EARSC

On behalf of our Board of Directors, it is a pleasure for me to introduce our first issue of the new EARSC (European Association of Remote Sensing Companies) Newsletter, "EO-Magazine", nicknamed “eomag”. This newsletter is the most recent action undertaken by our Board to better serve our members and to reach out to the Earth Observation community at large.

This inauguration is particularly timely. Not only does it come
logically after a string of bold steps taken by our Board in 2003 and
2004, such as the recruitment of an Executive Secretary, the launch of
a new Web Site, and the organisation of the Earth Observation Industry
Summit in Brussels, to name just a few, but also it comes at a critical
time for European Earth Observation. Indeed 2005 is the year of all
opportunities but also of many dangers for our European activities.

The opportunities are numerous. Europe has reached maturity in
developing spaceborne and air-borne technologies and systems, as well
as remote sensing products and a continuously growing panoply of
services. In addition the socio-economic benefits of remote sensing get
more widely known although much more could still be accomplished.
Moreover and for the first time the political circles have the
monitoring of the Earth high on their agenda. In Europe it is the GMES
(Global Monitoring of Environment and Security) initiative. Worldwide
it is the GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) concept
and action plan, and the involvement there of hundreds of governmental
and non-governmental entities alike. It is also the clearer realisation
that natural or human-induced disasters could be mitigated through a
better monitoring infrastructure.

However, present budgetary constraints are stringent in most European
countries as well as in European institutions, thus putting at risk
both the initiation and the continuation of Earth monitoring programs.

Our European Earth Observation community must thus follow very closely
two high importance processes in 2005: the definition of the European
Union financial perspectives for the 2007-2013 period and the ESA
Ministerial conference. Our association will participate as much as
possible in the related debates and your inputs will always be welcome.
It must finally be said that this News Letter, as well as our Web Site,
is yours, to inform the community at large about your activities and
achievements.

Looking forward to your suggestions and to counting you as a regular
reader and contributor of our eomag, we wish you a fruitful reading.