A Post-GEO Plenary Workshop on Earth Observations for the Social Benefit of the Balkans

PetrosArticles, Earth Observation, Original, Uncategorized

Photo of OBSERVE's post GEO workshop

Petros Patias
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Rural and Surveying Engineering

Photo of OBSERVE's post GEO workshop

Figure 1: OBSERVE's Post GEO Workshop.

A Post-GEO Plenary Workshop was held by the OBSERVE, BALKANGEONET and EGIDA 7th Framework Programme projects on Nov. 18 and 19 in Istanbul. The workshop attracted 88 experts, stakeholders, local policy makers and academics who had the opportunity to learn about the latest developments regarding international and European Earth Observation, , and debate the future of the practice in the Balkans.
Balkan countries do not have a coherent and continuous approach toward the challenge of implementing integrated Earth Observation (EO) applications in environmental monitoring and management. The defect in the implementation of EO applications and their use in the environmental decision making are manifested through the limited synergies among national and regional institutions, ineffective technological means and discontinuous record of participation to international organizations and committees. The increasing importance of a common approach toward effective environmental monitoring practices, for the benefit of the societal web of the broader Balkan region, calls for immediate action, setting as a starting point the build-up of regional institutional capacity and spillage of technology transfer.
Brief description
The Post-GEO workshop aimed to:

• Inform the audience on EO activities with a focus on European institutions’ aims, actions, and near-term future plans;
• Exchange views on how EO activities relate to activities in Southeastern Europe;
• Inform speakers and leading EO institutions on the needs regarding EO in Southeastern Europe;
• Build-up acquaintances, networks and co-operations, with focus on capacity building and more extensive use of EO in Southeastern Europe, including possible contributions of related EU projects in European activities.

The Post-GEO workshop was held in at the Maçka Campus of Istanbul Technical University, in the center of the Istanbul-Maçka district, just near the Taksım area. Participants had the opportunity to join the meetings of the workshop and enjoy the city center in the nights and during session breaks.
Keynote and invited speakers at the workshop play vital roles in Earth Observation in Europe, especially in the development of environmental activities in the Balkan area:

• Mario Cornelis Vis – Adviser in charge of science, research, technology and industry, Bureau of European Policy Advisers, EC – TOWARDS AN EU SPACE POLICY;
• Hans Peter Plag – Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology – Toward a GEOSS stakeholder network;
• Peter Zeil – Co-chair of GEO Capacity Building Committee – GEO Capacity building activities – a platform for cooperation;
• Vojko Bratina – research program officer, EC – EC initiatives in capacity building for Earth Observation in the Balkans;
• Ian Dowman – ISPRS First Vice President – Prospects for mapping from Earth Observation data and the role of ISPRS;
• Paolo Mazzetti – National Research Council of Italy – The EGIDA METHODOLOGY;
• Stuart Marsh – Geoscience Technologies, British Geological Survey – GMES and GEO for geohazard mitigation in the Balkans;
• Nando Foppa – Deputy Head of Staff Office Climate Division, Swiss GCOS Office – The role of satellite data within the national climate observing system(GCOS SWITZERLAND);
• Jay Pearlman – IEEE GRSS – Socio-economic benefits from the use of Earth Observation;
• Francesco Sarti – Scientific coordinator of Education and Training Activities, Director-ate of Earth Observation Programs, ESA – ESA Education and training EO;
• Vasilis Tritakis – Greek GEO Office Mariolopoulos Foundation for Environmental Re-search – Risks and cost of a possible climatic change in Greece and Eastern Mediterranean Cornelis Vis;
• Athina Trakas – Director of European Services – Open Standards and the EO Community – From Processes, Applications and the Value;
• Antti Jakobsson – EuroGeographics, Programmes Manager – European Location Framework and Inspire;
• Stefano Nativi – EGIDA project coordinator – EuroGEOSS: BROKERING APPROACH FOR THE GCI;
• Joan Maso – CREAF: Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals of the Uni-versitat Autonoma de Barcelona – GeoViQua: The Quality Challenges for GEOSS.

Presentations from the plenary workshop are all available for download.
The final session ended with a roundtable discussion summarizing results and scheduling further activities to fulfill the aims of the workshop and the three 7th Framework projects that organized the event.
Program – Presentations and Workshop results
For the realization and organizing purposes of the workshop, a special website was created. Important information can be found at postgeo-ws.itu.edu.tr.
Additionally, workshop results and conclusions are presented in detail in the most recent issue of OBSERVE project D3.3, and all the workshop presentations can be downloaded from OBSERVE’s Knowledge Base Repository.
Petros Patias, OBSERVE coordinator, is a professor and ex-chairman at the School of Rural and Surveying Engineering, The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, board member of the Department of Urban Planning, and Vice Rector at the University of Western Macedonia, Greece. His published work includes six books, four chapters in international books and 161 papers in journals and proceedings.
See also
OBSERVE Project Announces Competition
The Experience of the 1st OBSERVE CARAVAN Workshop
New Journal on South-Eastern European Earth Observation and Geomatics
An Introduction to OBSERVE, Strengthening and development of Earth Observation activities for the environment in the Balkan area