Issue date: 09 January 2004

ISSUE DATE: 09/01/04

Information from European Space Agency (ESA) earth satellite images will be made available to city planners using systems devised by a team of experts including researchers from the University of the West of England.

A major initiative entitled Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) spearheaded by ESA and the EU will eventually provide a service that will benefit end users in a variety of fields where detailed earth satellite images will transform their capabilities. Examples include long term monitoring of forests, water resources, disaster risk assessment and relief, agriculture, Polar Regions and urban areas. A long term commitment by all parties will ensure that the GMES project can deliver this vital detail to end users as early as 2008.

The UWE team has won a €80,000 contract as part of the €1.5 million GMES first phase, which will use their pan European planning policy expertise to feed into the GMES initiative.

David Ludlow from the Faculty of the Built Environment is leading the research team at UWE. He said “This is one of the most significant projects I have worked on in terms of the far reaching impact that earth satellite images will have on planning decision making by local authorities throughout Europe. The team at UWE has been selected because we are experts in communicating with cities on planning issues, and we can provide the detailed insights needed to aid software and technical experts at ESA in the development of products crucial to the planning process.

“The real beneficiaries of the GMES project will be the end users and it is essential that the information and intelligence received is relevant to the end user. Information on urban sprawl, uncontrolled building, green areas, water, traffic, mobility, and so on can now be provided from satellites which combined with the power of GIS can fundamentally improve sustainable decision making systems for municipalities throughout Europe. The real challenge for the service provider in this context is to develop generic solutions that have the potential to be applied widely in relation to differing local circumstances and needs.

“The EU has a long term objective defined in the Sustainable Development Strategy to ensure that all future planning initiatives are undertaken with sustainability at their core. Currently vital environmental information is unavailable. Earth satellite images tailored to the various needs of urban managers will significantly enhance the decision making process for sustainable development.”

“In this longer term, the EU commitment to the development of new approaches to sustainable urban management, is creating new and expanding needs for geo-spatial monitoring based on the key concept of policy integration. The emerging tools and methods essential to deliver this more integrated approach are creating new demands for higher quality information and intelligence to aid decision making that is the essential hallmark of geo-spatial information.”

The UWE contribution to the overall project is a significant cog in the wheel of this €400 million GMES project which will involve over 120 organisations including commercial service providers, universities, research centres, government agencies and end user organisations.

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