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EARSC position letter: Earth Observation Framework – GMES

Letter on behalf of EARSC member companies concerning the GMES
programme and in particular the anticipated forthcoming decisions in
the EU and ESA Ministerial Councils.

Dear Heads of National Space Delegations,
I am writing concerning the GMES programme
and in particular the anticipated forthcoming decisions in the EU and
ESA Ministerial Councils.
The European Association of Remote Sensing
Companies, EARSC, is an Association of over 50 European value added
industries. Founded in 1990, it has as members both large companies
including major satellite providers and small (SME) companies providing
specialised EO information services. Generally, EARSC has the
responsibility to represent the Earth Observation services industry in
We consider that over the next few years
the development of geo-spatial information services will become
increasingly important to Europe’s growth. A key driver is the GMES
initiative that is intended to ensure that Europe has effective access
to high quality information products. In our opinion, this is a
critical moment for GMES with decisions expected in the EU
Competitiveness Council (November) concerning the structure and
governance of a programme and in the ESA Ministerial Conference
(December) for the development of new satellites.
On behalf of our members, EARSC would
like to express its strong support for the GMES programme. We are very
supportive of the GMES philosophy and of the Sentinels concept.
Satellite-derived EO data forms a major and essential input to the
services that our companies offer, and we welcome this proposal that
will expand the data available and hence our potential services.
We are also convinced that the
preparatory work carried out by ESA in the GMES Service Elements (GSE)
programme provides an excellent base on which to proceed. The European
Commission is just in the process of establishing a mechanism to ensure
there are clear links between the services required by the EU and the
new satellite capacities that will be provided by the Sentinels. Whilst
we regret that this has not been instigated earlier, we do believe it
to be of crucial importance now and would urge that you give your full
support to these proposals. This would also provide a positive signal
from the space community of their support to the EC actions.
EARSC is convinced that national
governments should maintain their commitment to GMES, thereby ensuring
that public policies at all European levels can benefit from space
applications. We would like to ask the ESA delegations and the ESA
executive to ensure that the objectives of the GMES program are
preserved from its early phases and that the next Ministerial
conference endorses a program development in line with the quick
development of sustainable operational products.
Please be assured of our continuous
interest and of our full availability to help build this unique program
which has the capability to bring to Europe both high level capacity
and leadership.
Looking forward to a successful Ministerial conference, please accept our respectful regards
Yours sincerely,
EARSC Chairman