President’s News 3/2022
Greetings from EUROGI,
The conflict in Ukraine has brought into sharp focus the fact that geospatial information and technologies can also be used for harmful purposes. We in the geospatial community (not just here in Europe but globally), focus overwhelmingly on the good that such information and technologies can do, and rightly so. But there is also a less good side (often military), which I believe we need to open up for discussion, and where possible we need to identify means which may at least begin to address some of these darker issues.
To what types of issues am I referring? I list here just a small sample of such issues.
Enabling lethal weapons to hit targets with pinpoint accuracy; to track individuals and vehicles in order to undertake malicious actions against them or their property; to determine where critical infrastructure is located; to enable military aircraft to fly low and fast across any type of terrain; to spread misinformation or even outright lies using false location information as ‘proof’ for such distortion of the truth; to stigmatise and attack whole groups of people merely on the basis of where they come from or currently reside.
I am of course fully aware that at least some of the above and other geospatial based activities can also be used for good purposes, such as defending oneself, area or peoples against unprovoked aggressive attack where the consequences of defeat are systematic loss of human rights, the establishment of authoritarian puppet regimes and the subsequent crushing of freedoms and democracy.
This ‘two sides to the coin’ reality behoves us in the geospatial community to at least begin to address this good, bad, or evil use of geospatial information and technologies in a much more open and thorough way than has been the case until now.
President’s News 3/2021
Greetings From EUROGI,
In this blog I would like to focus on the recent submissions which EUROGI made to the European Commission in response to its call for comments on its draft Digital Decade 2030 targets document.
I am very pleased to say that EUROGI made two submissions regarding this call. The one submission focused on the current problems which arise in obtaining harmonised authoritative core data across a Union. Basically, there are two problems that have been mentioned by our members: the first being, the cost of obtaining cross-border data in some cases, and the second being the fact that authoritative data is not properly harmonised. We are of the view that these problems arise from the lack of a single coordinating body at the European Union level which has responsibility in the geospatial domain for policy, legislation and monitoring, and where necessary, initiating enforcement measures at both the European Union and Member State levels. In our submission we emphasised the need for there to be an EU-wide geospatial policy framework and for there to be clearly defined roles and responsibilities such that an integrated approach to dealing with geospatial matters can be undertaken in the EU.
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.
President’s 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.
President’s News 12/2020
Greetings from EUROGI,
In this letter, I will focus on issues related to our Projects Portfolio Group, which is led by Maurice Barbieri, our ExCom member who represents SOGI, the Swiss national GI association.
The aim of this Group is to enable EUROGI to participate in EU (or other entities’) funded projects that are relevant for our sector and our members. In effect EUROGI would become a conduit for our members, and their own members where appropriate, to undertake activities in their own countries.
President’s News 11/2020
This is the second of what will be my regular news items. They will be forwarded via the Blog on www.eurogi.org and our social media. As is usual in EUROGI, there is a lot going on, so in this news item I will touch on only three of our current activities in one of our Portfolio Groups. However, before I provide some information about them, I would like to remind that earlier this year we established seven Portfolio Groups, one of which was the Policy Portfolio Group. This news item will focus only this Policy Group. Some of my future news items will deal with the activities of the other Groups.
President’s News 10/2020
This is the first of what will be regular short news items from myself, the EUROGI President. There is a lot going on in EUROGI and so in my news items I will only ‘scratch the surface’ of our activities.
Here are just a few issues of relevance for the month of October: On the 23rd of this month a meeting was held of the Beyond Spatial Data Infrastructures Policy Focus Group. The aim of the Group is to produce a relatively succinct document which provides some guidance regarding a new paradigm to complement or go beyond the SDI paradigm, which was mainly developed in the 1990’s. The geospatial environment has changed quite radically since that time, hence the need for a new paradigm. The views of global geospatial thought leaders on this Beyond SDI subject can be found on our web site.
Geospatial entities as a key for unlocking value adding data fusion models of the next generation
by Domen Mongus, EUROGI Executive Committee member
While we are all becoming aware of recent rapid growth of data sources and streams, the hype of Big Data is close to an end. In other words, we are slowly moving away from hopes and dreams as we are entering into a phase of stable technology development, with already emerging established solutions. Nevertheless, by focusing on high-performance cloud computing infrastructures, it seems like we have primarily addressed the volume and velocity aspects of Big Data in the past, while dealing with data variety remains a fairly intact challenge.
Brainware for Geospatial Success
by Josef Strobl, EUROGI Executive Committee member
Adequate software, performant hardware and extensive collections of geospatial data always have been considered keys to success with ambitious geospatial initiatives. This still is the case, although all these components by now have migrated towards an integrated cloud environment, “shielding” users from many of the required skills needed to manage the infrastructure required for data management, analysis and visualisation.
Helsinki Declaration adopted
by Yves Schellekens, EUROGI Executive Committee member
EC coordinates efforts to offer commercial drone services by 2019 in European space. The European Commission, national authorities and the industry adopted the “Helsinki Declaration” aiming to deliver advanced drone operations safely and securely in Europe. This Declaration was adopted at “The high-level conference on drones” organised jointly by the Commission and the Finnish authorities last month.
GIS utility infrastructures supporting digital society
by Pascal Lory, EUROGI Vice-president
EUROGI, European Umbrella organisation for Geographic Information, organize a one day conference in cooperation with AFIGEO, named “GIS utility infrastructures supporting digital society”, during its Members Meeting the 7th of December 2017.
As a matter of fact, “GIS utility infrastructure” is an issue EUROGI seized as soon as 2014 when it took part of UPSIDEDOWN European project. Today, in order to ease the understanding of this field and feed members’ thoughts, EUROGI decided to focus its Members Meeting on that topic. In this article, I will focus on the France’s case.
New data sources
by Henning Sten Hansen, EUROGI President
Earth observation is growing at a rapid speed these years – not at least due to the Copernicus programme. Particularly, the Sentinel 2 series of satellites have been very popular for land cover monitoring, and the data from these satellites are used in a growing number of applications – e.g. agriculture, forestry and the environment. The Sentinel family of satellites was last week extended by a new satellite Sentinel 5P aimed at monitoring air quality, which has come under increasing pressure due to energy production from fossil based fuel, and not at least the still increasing car and aircraft traffic. Date includes global the levels for Ozone, Sulfur dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Methane and aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere. Like other data from the Copernicus data the Sentinel-5P data will be fully free and open to everyone.