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Editorial, Issue 8

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