The EC has conducted the first in a series of 3 user workshops to define initial Europe-wide pilot services within the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) initiative. The Councilof the Member States has requested that a first set of widely accepted services be operational by 2008. The event on Land Monitoring, which took place in Brussels on 20 and 21 October, attracted the fullest possible range of participation with 100 representative contributors from 22 European countries and from European services themselves. User domains included environment,urban planning, mapping and surveying, agriculture, car navigation, security and others involving both, public and private service provision agencies.
Chairman Prof. Dietmar Grünreich, president of the German Federal Agency of Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) and past president of the EurogeographicsAssociation opened the event by expressing expectations that the Land Monitoring service would bring three dimensions to meet: The first one extends between environmental and topographic standards of land inventory, the second from small (continental Europe) to large (local) scale, and the thirdone from providing access to both, original satellite images aswell as a cross-border coherent, value-added land-cover / land-use information for the various European user communities.
Participants welcomed the initiative taken by the European Unionand agreed with the two prime elements of the core service, an Earth Observation and a Land Information component. As to the first there were high expectations raised with regard to the integration of new and continuously available satellite images as well as in-situ data (the importance of the EU INSPIRE initiative was frequently stressed in this context). For the second there is rich experience available throughout Europe from the CORINE Land- Cover inventories carried out around 1990 and 2000, but requirements addressed an increase in the level of detail and accuracy as well as the updating speed, and a local complement was supportedin addition (urban areas and other “hot spots”of interest or sensitivity). Towards this end, topographic reference data (digital terrain models and object-structured landscape models) and satellite images (multispectraland radar) have to be brought together.
To enhance these requirements practical examples of customised downstream services were presented which could profit from the core service. These included environment, resources and investment management, city planning, car navigation etc. While sponsored out of ESA, EC and Member States budgets as GMES precursor projects, some of them showed already manifest user commitment in addition, such as in the development of a new planning tool for the province of Treviso/Italy becoming of relevance in meeting new legal regulations for territorial and city management.
Users emphasised the necessity to broaden further the GMES user base (from 170 to 3000 as was requested in one project) and opted, during the implementation of the pilot service, for closeinteraction between EU and Member States. The latter will, withtheir existing in-situ data and technical contributions to the work, ensure quality and efficiency. A conclusion document from the workshop, the draft of which had undergone a prior open email discussion, will be amended with the inputs received and a representative user group will follow up the implementation steps.