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Editorial Spring 2016

This month, I wish to focus on our communications and the tools which EARSC uses to inform and exchange with our members as well as other stakeholders.
But before launching into that subject I want to just draw your attention to our latest position paper referred to elsewhere in this magazine which considers the idea to establish a Marketplace Alliance for EO Services in Europe. We consider that the pace of development in the industry is leaving many small companies vulnerable to developments elsewhere and outside their control. The European Copernicus programme has the potential to help drive development and growth but much work needs to be done to open up the data and information coming from this programme in which €7b has already been invested. The EC has started to recognise industrial messages on this topic and hence we propose to establish a new form of Alliance to help companies individually and collectively to address new customers and markets which we see opening as a result of Copernicus and various technology changes. We refer to this as MAEOS – Marketplace Alliance for EO Services – which you should hear more about over the next few months.

Now, to our communication tools where we should start with this e-magazine. EOmag, was first published in April 2005 and we are now at our 45th edition. Each quarter, it is sent to over 2,500 people and opened and read by over 1500 of them. It provides a digest of all the important news of the EO sector and particularly that coming from our members, an interview with a key stakeholder and a feature of one of our members. We are considering to extend it and this month you will find for the first time a second interview featuring an important European project; GEO-CRADLE – which is just starting. In future editions we shall consider promoting other projects but it is always a delicate balance to keep a magazine like EOmag, focused and short enough for people to open it each time whilst including all the relevant news and information.

We are considering further changes including the possibility to go to 6 issues a year from the current 4. Your opinion and feedback would be welcome and I’ll return to this later on. But, whilst “EOmag:“ may be an important communication tool, it is not the only one; so let me introduce you to a few of our others.

First and foremost is our web-site. This provides a calendar of EO events as well as news on what is happening in the world of Earth Observation. We are not a news publisher so we try to keep quite focused in order to not overwhelm our readers. Of most importance is news coming from our members. The web-site is also seen as an entry point to our other 2 main tools and to provide links to some of the services which we provide to both members and non-members. When you get a moment, take 2 minutes just to take a quick look around and again any feedback you can give us will be great.

Complementing our web-site is the EO Portal which offers both members and non-members access to different types of information. As mentioned, from our web-site you can link directly to some of the areas in the Portal dedicated to specific topics; research activities, bid opportunities, events coming up. Members naturally are able to access more services than non-members 😉

A key part of the Portal is dedicated to the EO Wiki which is an open resource providing information on EO products and applications. It is open but a log-in is required if you wish to contribute. We should like to encourage you to add information to the EO Wiki which has so far been developed by a few contributors. Take a look and have a go!

We also publish a dedicated e-magazine for our contacts in the oil and gas industry. Like eomag, the OGEOzine is published quarterly with news on what is new and relevant for the O&G sector. Started at the request of the EO sub-committee of the IOGP (International Oil & Gas Producers Association), the 13th edition of the e-magazine has just been published. It has a much more limited but quite motivated readership primarily by key people in the O&G industry.

The oil and gas sector also gets a dedicated area of our EO Portal. Known as EO4OG, it features a comprehensive analysis of the information needs of the sector for which EO data can provide a solution. This really is a quality resource; built on the back of an ESA project to provide a complete catalogue of products for the O&G sector, it contains 224 challenges, 94 products sheets and 19 case studies. A team is now going one step further to build a data broker which focuses on these challenges. We see the approach taken here as being a model for engagement with other sectors.

EO4OG receives over 2500 page views each month and this seems to be growing. This is also driving visits to the EO Wiki which is now getting nearly 8000 page views per month. We shall be trying to add content and variety and to keep these numbers growing. It should provide an excellent platform for delivering industry messages.

EARSC is also present on social media. LinkedIn and Twitter being the two main channels which we use.

Feedback? We should love to hear more from you. Please follow us and comment on Twitter. There is also a dedicated EO Forum in the “EO Portal:“ but we have not yet found the trick to making this dynamic. We recognise that there are many tools out there but for topics of dedicated interest we would love to see some exchange taking place. So maybe you could comment there? Maybe you can tell us what would help you address some concerns? We shall respond to any comments and actively promote messages where it can be important for the industry. In the end, we are only successful if you are successful!

Finally a quick word about EOpages. This is a key tool which enables potential clients to find providers of EO products. It will be a key part of the marketplace in the future where it is dedicated to consultancy and bespoke EO products which form over 90% of the VA market today. It will strongly complement the on-line services platform which we wish to encourage and enable and which we shall be studying over the next few months. It promises to be an exciting year!

Geoff Sawyer
EARSC Secretary General