A total of 60+ VACs have been interviewed by telephone or face to face meetings (for half of them) by three of the Consortium members with the following geographical distribution: Southern Europe (EARSC); Northern Europe (CONTROLWARE) and Canada (C-CORE). In addition, similarly, more than 10 Trade Associations have been contacted (by LOGICA CMG and EARSC) and contributed to the understanding of the position of such Associations. These include international (e.g. ISPRS, EURISY), European (e.g. EUROGI, EUROSPACE), French (e.g. AFIGEO), Italian (e.g. AIPAS) and North American (the Alliance for Earth Observation) associations.
The main elements of the first consultation report indicate key industry issues including for instance issues associated with the available resources of companies to develop businesses and the level of public support to the EO sector; the lack of awareness of the capabilities of the EO service sector; the access to EO missions data (operational supply of EO data today and continuity of EO missions to meet customer expectations in the longer term).
The main logic behind industry representation appears to be the collective issue that the EO service sector is largely dependent upon public financing; this, rather than downstream sector specific (niche) issues appears a strong and collective driver for representation in the eyes of the respondees. The findings of this first consultation round will be provided to the respondees and made available publicly during the course of May 2006. Further consultation and study reports will be issued by the end of Q2 2006 as part of an Open Review Process which will culminate with an Industry Workshop in September 14.