The continuous provision of accurate and timely information through coordinated and sustained Earth Observation (EO) activities is considered a key enabler for informed decision making in response to challenges such as adaptation to climate change, improved food security & water extremes management, access to raw materials, access to renewable energy resources, which comprise the four thematic priorities of GEO-CRADLE. In this context, large international initiatives such as GEO and Copernicus are promoting the integration and coordination of EO capacities at regional, national and international levels.
Despite the important progress made over the past years in the Balkans, Middle East and the North Africa (BAMENA), the so called hereinafter Region of Interest (RoI), there still exist critical gaps in the uptake of EO activities, and different obstacles in the collaboration of the EO stakeholders relating to cultural, linguistic, educational, infrastructure, organisational, political, and capacity building aspects. The result is the ineffective exploitation of available resources and expertise, the limited public awareness on the benefits of EO services and the low involvement of the industrial sector in most of the RoI’s countries. In this context of requirements, GEO-CRADLE is aiming to tackle the above mentioned challenges and bring together key players from the 3 regions (BAMENA) representing the entire EO value added chain, with the overarching objective of establishing a multi-regional coordination network that:
- Promotes the uptake of EO services and data in response to regional needs.
- Supports the effective integration of existing Earth Observation Capacities in the region;
- Facilitates the networking and engagement of the EO stakeholders in the region.
- Builds trust and capacity among the actors, and enhances their participation in and contribution to the implementation of GEOSS and Copernicus in the region.
- Proposes a roadmap ( http://geocradle.eu/en/regional-capacities/roadmap/ ) for the implementation of GEO, GEOSS and Copernicus in the RoI
Activities for the period
Several of the above mentioned objectives have been successfully met so far, however as planned these actions will continue for the entire lifetime of the project (until 2018):
- Extensive mapping and assessment the entire RoI of the EO capacities and state-of-the-art. Documentation of the identified capacities in a well-structured and easily searchable data base (http://geocradle.eu/en/tools/networking-platform/). Specific focus has been placed on capturing the current state-of-play with regards to monitoring infrastructure (84 usable in-situ networks and 25 space data acquisition facilities), skills, national policies, involvement in international projects, etc.
- A detailed survey of needs from more than 80 end users and decision makers in the RoI. A regional action plan was produced in which about 40 priority proposals were initially included, and from which after consolidation a number of 8 common regional actions in relation to service delivery and capacity building challenges have been promoted.
- Engagement and creation, for the first time in the RoI, the network of EO stakeholders. This facilitates the exchange of know-how and partnering between the regional actors and the stakeholders with the EU EO interlocutors (including scientists, service/data providers, end-users, governmental organisations, and decision makers). The project has established and put in full operation a networking platform (http://geocradle.eu/en/tools/networking-platform/) in which 242 profiles of actors located in the RoI and acting in EO are included.
- Design and launch the a Regional Data Hub (RDH). A prototype user friendly and innovative gateway, built on well advanced tools such as the GCI DAB APIs and DKAN, allows ease and effective access to the GCI platform and many more regional portals and datasets existing in the RoI ( http://datahub.geocradle.eu/).
- Conduct dedicated liaison activities. Establish relationships with high-level stakeholders including GEOGLAM, GMES and Africa, AfriAlliance, ConnectinGEO, AfriGEOSS, Copernicus (DG GROW), DG RTD and ESA.
- “Export” Copernicus: GEO-CRADLE has raised awareness on Copernicus in the RoI, and among EU service providers.
- Launch pilot activities after a rigorous gap analysis and identification of regional priorities. These activities are expected to pave the way for the development of sustainable EO services in the RoI, making use of infrastructure integration and collaboration between partners.
- Access to Renewable Energy Resources (SENSE) pilot: The Solar Energy Nowcasting SystEm (SENSE; www.solea.gr), produces state-of-the-art solar energy applications based on the synergy of Radiative Transfer simulations, real-time satellite observations, and Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) retrievals (aerosols forecasts). Key end users include the Ministries of Electricity and Renewable Energies of Egypt, the Electric Power Transmission Operators of Greece, and private sector.
- Adaptation to Climate Change (ACC) pilot: The identification of user needs in the RoI is specifically addressed for 4 sub-regions: 1. Macedonia and Albania, 2. Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, 3. Greece, Cyprus and Turkey and 4. Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel. Climate change related needs have been classified in thematic areas such as: air quality, meteorology and natural risks.
- Improved Food Security – Water Extremes Management (IFS-WEM) pilot: 1) Transfer of know-how between the involved partners on the application of soil spectroscopy in the RoI. 2) Development of an adapted and enhanced version of a WebGIS platform myDEWETRA to assist in improving the accessibility and comparability of flood and drought risk information and data at regional and national levels.
- Access to Raw Materials (ARM): Launch of pilot projects for the monitoring of illegal quarrying in several countries in the RoI, as well as EO methodologies for better management of the mining and post-mining areas.
- €2.9 million, EC Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
- Haris Kontoes (National Observatory of Athens [NOA]/Greece),email@example.com
Members: Bulgaria, Cyprus, EC, Israel, Italy, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, USA.
Participating Organizations: EARSC, Eurisy, EuroGeoSurveys, i-BEC.
Others: Center For Environment & Development for the Arab Region & Europe (CEDARE).
Linkages across Work Programme
Leadership & Contributors (this list is being populated)