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GAF and Partners Start Satellite Based Environmental Monitoring for Saudi Arabia

A group of Saudi Arabian and European partners has commenced a project to implement and provide satellite based environmental information products and services to the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

The environmental monitoring covers all four environmental domains: -land -air -coast -marine and follows previous experience gained in the European GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) programme. The providers are Summit Geoservices (KSA) and a European team lead by GAF and consisting of DLR, Germany and Telespazio, Italy.

Throughout the last decades the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has witnessed rapid development in its economy, industry and population. Environmental concerns are growing. To support PME in its national, regional and international duties including the implementation of the Environmental Law, GAF and partners now commence work on using space technology and satellite remote sensing and provide timely and nationwide information on the status and evolution of the environment. The Environmental Law of the Kingdom authorizes the use of satellite remote sensing to conduct the analysis, comparison and verification of environmental pollution sources and deterioration. Remote sensing shall be used as surveillance tool to detect polluters and to substantiate liability claims.

Services include the development and provision of a number of thematic products and services, the implementation of a geo-portal as well as technical consultancy towards a dedicated GIS and remote sensing centre as important component of a future Environmental Information Management System (EIMS).

Nationwide land use/cover mapping and monitoring will provide important baseline information and detect important environmental changes in the last 2 decades. The air quality monitoring and forecasting service to be developed by DLR and will not only allow national and urban pollution to be monitored and forecasted but also the detection and warning of imported air pollution resulting from trans-boundary transports into Saudi-Arabia. Telespazio will demonstrate near real time oil spill monitoring and damage assessment in a pilot area in the Arabian gulf. Detection of pollution and polluters off the coasts of KSA is a prime topic of interest.

GAF and its partners DLR and Telespazio can draw from their extensive experience in successful application of satellite remote sensing, especially with more than 5 years involvement in GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) the initiative of the European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA) on the development and operational use of earth observation based products and services for the environment.

Project activities for the first phase have started and extend into fall 2009. The GAF team consists of the partners GAF as lead, DLR, Germany and Telespazio, Italy. GAF cooperates with SGS in Saudi Arabia in the performance of this project, which aims at developing a long term European – KSA cooperation in the field of nation wide- satellite based environmental monitoring.

About GAF AG Germany
GAF AG, a Telespazio company, is globally active and has an international reputation as a competent provider of project design, management and implementation services in the fields of geo-information, satellite remote sensing and spatial IT consultancy to private and public clients. Within the past 20 years, GAF has been active in more than 100 countries throughout Europe, Africa, South-America and Asia. More on GAF:

DLR Germany
DLR is the German Aerospace Centre and has responsibility for all of Germany�s space related activities, including satellite launching, data reception and research at the forefront of modern space based technology. DLR offers through its German Remote Sensing Data Centre cutting edge climate and atmospheric products and related services. For more details please refer to the websites: and

Telespazio Italy
Telespazio SpA is a Finmeccanica/Thales (Space Alliance) owned company active in Earth observation, satellite communication and operation. Telespazio has over 1,300 employees and a direct presence in 10 countries. From 2008 Telespazio, through the E-Geos owned company, is the sole supplier worldwide of high definition radar images from the Italian Space Agency�s and Italian built COSMO-SkyMed constellation of four satellites. For more details please refer to the website:

SGS: Summit GeoServices Saudi Arabia
Summit GeoServices is a well reputed KSA based company and provider of GIS software services and solutions to the telecom, power, water, gas, transportation, local government and geospatial industry sectors. Services include independent GIS consultancy, system implementation, data conversion, migration and maintenance, application development, business application integration, managed application services, training and support. Additional information can be found here:

*PME*Presidency of Meteorology and Environment, Saudi Arabia
PME is the central agency responsible for environmental protection and monitoring in KSA. The Public Environmental Law of KSA assigns the overall responsibility concerning the development of environmental standards, the enforcement of environmental rules and regulations to PME. For more details please refer to

Source GAF