Under the 6th Framework Programme for Research (FP6) activity
‘Global Monitoring for Environment and Security’ (GMES), the Commission
will provide €1.1m support for a new research project, called “ASSIST”,
on improving risk warning and risk management of landslides,
avalanches, debris flows and floods in Alpine regions. The results of
this project can easily be extended to other mountainous areas. Under
GMES, the Commission is currently funding 14 projects. ASSIST is the
latest and fifteenth project.
Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen stated: “With the closure of
the latest call for proposals for space research projects, the
Commission has taken an important step in fostering dialogue between
stakeholders from both the provider and the user side of information in
the fields of environment and security. Whilst making the lives of
citizens safer, we are also helping EU industry to become more
competitive through developing a strong and innovative industrial pole
both for information services and space/terrestrial infrastructure.”
Mountain ranges or chains account for 30%
of EU territory, with some 30 million inhabitants. Areas include the
Alps, Sierra Nevada, the Island of Crete, the Pyrenees, the Apennines,
the Sierra de Estrela, the Massif Central, the upper Tatra and the
Carpathians. Mountain areas represent over 50% of the territory in
Italy, Spain, Greece, Austria, Switzerland and Portugal. The goal of
ASSIST is to implement pre-operational services and establish advanced
integrated safety and information services for the Alps.
Several important benefits can be obtained from an integrated use of
satellite based earth observation data, combining the all-weather
capabilities of SAR (synthetic aperture radar) images with high
resolution optical satellite data as a complement to existing airborne
and meteorological data. At a technical level, the project utilises
so-called “Service Nodes”, which are autonomously operated, such as
police, hospitals, air rescue, fire-fighters, etc. The nodes will be
laid out to support a) day-to-day monitoring and predictions of risk
mitigation scenarios and b) operation during actual crisis situations.
Seven partners from Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, engaged in
different areas of research, satellite remote sensing, communication
technology, and alpine safety management, are collaborating in the
development of a product portfolio of safety and risk information for
direct use in the participating alpine safety information centres.
is a joint initiative of the Commission and the European Space Agency
aimed at improving environmental and security-related information to
better manage crisis situations.
The call for proposals constitutes a crucial part of the wider GMES
Action Plan which focuses on dialogue with and among stakeholders (e.g.
through the GMES Forum), user involvement (e.g. GMES Steering
Committee), cooperation and partnership (think tanks and networks, e.g.
the European Environment Agency – EEA) as well as information exchange
and information dissemination. Operational GMES services may be
provided by industry on a commercial basis, a prerequisite to the
development of a European industrial pole.
More information http://europa.eu.int/comm/space/programmes/gmes_en.html
(Credits EU – Communiques de Presse Rapid)