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