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Editorial Winter 2008/2009

We will celebrate this year the twentieth anniversary of our Association. Twenty years ago, in 1989, remote sensing was already somewhat mature in terms of technologies and there were strong hopes for a rapid market development. This led several companies with the support of European institutions to create EARSC.

We all know quite well that it took many more years for the market itself to mature pushing many to forget some of their illusions on the way. However realizing that maturity and market expansion could only happen little by little in this complex domain EARSC has been sticking to its goal of helping develop the European remote sensing industry, reaching close to one hundred members, and being a recognized association worldwide with in particular solid links with its American counterparts. All the major European industrial actors of remote sensing are EARSC members and are involved in numerous ways to foster the development of the domain together with European institutions. Lately the EARSC strategy has evolved one step further to account for the geospatial information revolution of the 21st century.

These evolutions have been accompanied in the last five years by a stepping up of our capabilities, in particular hiring an Executive Secretary in September 2004, opening an office in Brussels in October 2008 and hiring a Secretary General in January 2009. In the same period thanks to the dedication of our Executive Secretary we have in particular started this regular Earth Observation magazine (EOMag), we have setup yearly symposia gathering EARSC members as well as non-members from the Earth Observation community at large, have set up specific working groups to increase our influence and benefits for our members, and held numerous meetings with European institutions representatives. Our EOVOX project, realized thanks to ESA support has been seminal for our present and future evolution and will soon lead to one of our dearest achievements which the set up of a Directory of European Industrial capabilities in this field.

All of this has been possible only thanks to the continuous and increasing support of our members and of European institutions, motivating us even further to do ever more to improve the market presence of European industry. We thus look forward to welcoming you all at our 20-year anniversary celebration which will take place in Brussels next May simultaneously with our 2009 event dedicated to GMES governance.

A final note: due to my recent assignments in another European Association I am handing the EARSC chairmanship over to Han Wensink from ARGOSS this January 2009. It is a great pleasure and a great satisfaction for us to see the CEO of a “small” company leading our association. Han will first act as interim Chairman until the next election in June 2009. It has been an exciting period for me to work with all of you and to share with you so many interesting developments during the past few years and I would like to thank all of you for these opportunities.

With my best wishes to you all and to our association!

In the mean time we encourage you to go on reading our magazine, visiting our web site and…now our new office in Brussels

With best regards,

Paul Kamoun
EARSC Chairman