The goal of the OBSERVE project is to collect and compile all necessary information for delivering an integrated analysis on the current status of Earth Observation (EO) activities and networks in the Balkan area, regarding: Environmental monitoring, the potential benefit from the full exploitation of an integrated capacity development strategy, and the prospect of establishing a relevant permanent EO Community in the broader region. For this purpose, a Gap Analysis Report is produced as an important deliverable to estimate the deficiencies in the broader area of the Balkan Peninsula.
As a first step, a stakeholder’s database that contains basic data on identified stakeholders in each country has been created. All partners in the OBSERVE consortium and BalkanGEONet consortium proposed stakeholders using different strategies, including: Contacts from their business, contacts in state administration, Internet examination, and interviews with possible stakeholders. Additionally, every OBSERVE Balkan participant prepared a National Thematic Report. The structure of the database was defined in cooperation with the partners on BalkanGEONet.
Through the collaboration of OBSERVE and BalkanGEONet, a common questionnaire was developed. The questionnaire was transformed into a Web application using LimeSurvey technology. The identified stakeholders have been interviewed and the details of these two tasks and the work accomplished can be found in corresponding deliverables of this project. The answers and questionnaires in the database have been exported into a spreadsheet file and thoroughly analyzed and graphically presented. Based on these inputs, a gap analysis has been delivered and a roadmap and strategy plan has been prepared.
Results of Gap Analysis
The gap analysis is based on six topics: General Information; Policies; Data; Capacities; Research and Industry; and Evaluation. All six topics were further re-divided into sub-sections and were introduced in the Excel deliverables. The aggregated data and information was produced by the University of Haifa for each country separately. The additional data and information was added by the relevant partners, and arranged in the same manner. Thus, a regional summary quantitative evaluation was made possible. The developed visualization tool is available through the OBSERVE website.
Analysis guidelines and visualization
As the actual counts of institutes, individuals and other characteristics of EO activities are affected by the size and economic standing of the various countries, there is a need for normalization of parameters. A set of normalized parameters by area and population was adopted whenever possible. Yet, one should note these are biased normalization parameters that may not show the real normalization values in very small or large countries.
The visual representations in this document are in three basic forms: Pie charts (Fig. 1); (single and multi-theme) Bars (Fig. 2), “3D bars” (Fig. 3). In addition, some predefined maps (Fig. 4), presenting results of one query, are depicted in the last chapter. These and other representations will serve as the basis for spatial visualization of the data and information extracted from the EO stakeholders’ database and the national reports.
The visualization of all data provided and processed by quantitative methods complements the information that is important to produce a roadmap and strategy plan for strengthening EO capacity in the Balkans for an environmental monitoring report. In addition to the information related to the various countries, one also could find aggregated information covering the whole Balkan area.