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GMES User Workshops on pilot services

The European Commission has recently conducted a series of user
workshops to define initial Europe-wide pilot services within the GMES
(Global monitoring for Environment and Security) initiative.

The three events on Land, Marine and Crisis/Emergency services
attracted a well represented user European community, underlining the
will to have a first set of services operational by 2008, as requested
by the Council of the Member States.
The discussions focused on three key issues:
- A detailed scope of the services and consolidated requirements,
- The next implementing steps (action plan for 2006-2008),
- The conditions (funding mechanisms and institutional structure) for the long-term sustainability of GMES services.
Participants emphasised the necessity that
the interactions between the users and the providers must be better
articulated in order to meet users’ needs. In that perspective, they
welcomed the initiative taken by the Commission in organizing this
series of workshops. Participants also recalled that the use of GMES
products may differ from one country to another but cooperative
undertaking at European level should focus on the reliability of
delivery and efficient information dissemination.
The participants of the workshop agreed
that the issues of the political ownership and funding scheme of GMES
have still to be addressed. They insisted on the necessity of a strong
financial public commitment and proposed a GMES management structure
integrating European, national and local levels.
Environment, resources and investment management, city planning or car navigation will benefit from the Land service.
Requirements include an increase in the level of detail and accuracy,
open access to data as well as the updating speed. Users agreed that
core land cover data should be available maximum one year after
satellite data acquisition. Updates should be done every three to five
years for continental coverage, more frequently for urban areas.
Furthermore, a group of 500 functional urban areas have been identified
and will benefit of a more precise mapping. Participants stressed that
coordination of satellite data is required with in-situ land cover/land
use inventory initiatives.
The Marine Core Service will
deliver systematic reference information on the state of the global
ocean and EU seas by providing observational and model data, real-time
predictions and ocean scenario simulations. Several R&D projects
have developed Marine Core Service components which are ready to go
operational in 2008, an effort consistent with the “fast track”
approach. Foreseen to be an initial European contribution to GEOSS, the
Martine Core Service should strengthen the connection with downstream
services such as marine safety, oil spill monitoring or costal
management. The need to integrate and upgrade the capabilities of
existing national services has also been evoked.
The contributions to the workshop on the Crisis/Emergency service
show an agreement on the need to focus on the “rapid response” part of
the crisis cycle. However the rapid response cannot be decoupled from
preparedness, prevention, risk reduction and early warning. At European
level a wide range of risks will be addressed such as floods,
earthquakes, landslides, vegetation fires or accidents associated with
transport. The fast delivery of reference and damage maps of the crisis
area has been identified as a key requirement for the Information
Service in Responses to Crises, Disasters and Emergencies (INSCRIT).
There was a strong demand from the Civil Protection sector for GMES
products since INSCRIT can strengthen civil protection capacity through
best use of new technologies. At world level, GMES INSCRIT can
significantly contribute to the delivery of EU assistance in case of
crises and emergencies. As underlined by the participants, GMES shall
become a single point for resourcing, planning and decision making on
developing the European capacity to better respond to Land, Marine and
Crisis/Emergency information needs.
(Credits Europa)