Blog – President’s News 2/2021

Greetings from EUROGI,

At the outset of this blog we wish you all the very best for 2021, and … to keep safe.

Although the year has really only started there has already been much activity in EUROGI.  I will mention just a few of the exciting things which have been occupying our time.

Firstly, on the projects front, we have been meeting with our EARSC member to plan the best way for EUROGI to participate in the already funded Horizon 2020 e-shape project.  In essence it is envisaged that we would arrange for one of our members to hold a workshop in May at which presentations of some of the 27 pilot projects for the use of satellite imagery would be presented.  EUROGI will shortly be going to its members to find out which one(s) would be willing to hold this webinar.  If all goes well at this event, which we fully expect to be the case, there would be further workshops to be held in different countries in Europe in which we have members.  We hope to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with EARSC in the near future.

Hans Breemersch, EUROGI President

Another important activity during January was that EUROGI made a submission to the European Commission in response to its request for comments on the draft Data Governance Act. With our contribution to the consultation we welcomed the Act and its commitment to the release of previously restricted data in order to facilitate innovation, economic growth and increased services for all citizens across Europe. 

However, we had particular concerns regarding two issues, both related to trust.  Firstly, we expressed concerns that citizens/public trust in providing information to public bodies could be eroded because of the scope for such bodies to release information which would have previously been not subject to release.  Secondly, we suggested that it could be the case that businesses could become hesitant to undertaking work for public bodies because they believe that maybe their IP, which in all likelihood gives them a key competitive advantage, could be given away in the future and it would be beyond their control to prevent such release of information.  If this perception arises, then it becomes questionable how actively they will engage with public organisations on projects.

We also made the point that more information is needed regarding the Data Innovation Board.  In this regard we were concerned that it could become just another layer of bureaucracy.

On a more general level, we suggested that at the data governance level, there should be a provision about a better integration and accessibility of authoritative national datasets, a matter which is of concern in our geospatial information sector. Our full submission can be read here.

I will mention just two other activities which has been taking place during January, namely, the work being done by the Beyond SDI Working Group.  This Group comprises geospatial thought leaders from around the world.  It has had a number of ‘deep dives’ where issues are discussed in detail.  It is currently working on a first draft document which sets out its ideas regarding what the geospatial environment could look like in the emerging medium to longer term.  Issues such as vision, key principles and key features of a future geospatial environment will be addressed in the document

Finally we had nice meetings with the leadership of Norden GI and Afigéo (FR). Based on these talks, we hope that we have paved the way to a fruitful cooperation with them.

Keep safe.

Hans Breemersch
EUROGI President