Blog Presidents’ News – New Year

Greetings from EUROGI,

When I think about it, I come to the conclusion that there is much good news to share.  Three topics immediately come to mind.

Firstly, on 23 December, when I started to write this, we were a few days beyond the winter solstice.  Come on summer!

Secondly, safe and effective vaccines against the corona virus are about to be rolled out across Europe.  Thank you European Union for the bulk buying leadership which has been displayed.

Thirdly, 2020 has been a great year for EUROGI and I am looking forward to another great year in 2021.  Earlier in December our Executive Committee undertook a review of our activities in 2020.  The overall conclusion was very positive.  Some of the main achievements which were mentioned include approving a Strategic Plan which covers a 5 year period, the approval of a 2020 Work Plan which draws on the Strategic Plan, and the establishment of the Portfolio Groups (PGs) indicated in the Work Plan.  During the year a number PGs were particularly active, including the PG’s Policy, Projects, and Communications.

The Policy PG has focussed on 4 policy issues, namely, searching for a new paradigm Beyond SDIs, Women in GI, Harmonised Available Authoritative Geospatial Data across Europe, and the EU’s proposed Data Governance Act. 

Regarding the Beyond SDI paradigm topic, EUROGI has facilitated ongoing discussions involving 11 global geospatial thought leaders.  The intention is to produce a Vision document in the earlier part of 2021.

Hans Breemersch, EUROGI President

In the case of the Women in GI, we held a successful virtual session at the BEGEO conference in October.

The Harmonised Authoritative Group has prepared a draft policy position paper which will be presented to EUROGI members for consideration in the new year. 

Finally, regarding the draft Data Governance Act, virtual meetings have been held to begin to clarify EUROGI’s views and a draft submission will be available in mid-January 2021, for submission to the Commission before the end of the consultation period on 27 January.

Regarding the Projects PG, we produced text for a Work Package in a Horizon 2020 project which was unfortunately not successful.  However later in the year EUROGI was approached by its member EARSC to become involved in a currently running EU funded project.  Discussions are underway to clarify EUROGI’s responsibilities in 2021 and beyond.  Also, thanks to AFIGEO, EUROGI’s French member, we are involved in exploring how best we should be involved in a Horizon 2020 project which focuses on the European Green Deal.  Finally, it is appropriate to mention that EUROGI is a member of the Big Data Value Association (BDVA) which provides regular updates of the very many EU funded projects for which calls are available.  The Projects PG is evaluating which calls have a strong GI component and which ones we should be seeking to become involved in as part of a consortium.

Regarding the Communications PG, the focus has been mainly on getting EUROGI fully integrated into the Microsoft Teams facility.  Much has been done in this regard but more still needs to be done.  The PG has also publicised my regular President’s blogs as well as other material, including news from our members.

Finally, based on our Executive Committee review of our 2020 activities, I would like to mention that the ExCom members regarded the management of EUROGI as one of the positive achievements during the year.  In this regard I would like to give a very special thanks to the members of our Management Board which in addition to myself as President, comprises Bruce McCormack as Vice President, Maurice Barbieri as Treasurer, and Jean-Yves Pirlot from our Secretariat who has assistance from Daria Cornea.  The Board meets on a weekly basis and is, I believe, playing a really good management role.

Finally, finally(!), I would like to thank our Executive Committee members for their support and guidance during the year not only at our regular monthly meetings, but also at the many one-on-one conversations which I have had with them over the year.

I would like to end by wishing all our members a very happy New Year, and a really great 2021.

Hans Breemersch
EUROGI President