Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ConnectinGEO Report Summary

Project ID: 641538
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.5.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ConnectinGEO (Coordinating an Observation Network of Networks EnCompassing saTellite and IN-situ to fill the Gaps in European Observations)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

ConnectinGEO main lines of work can be summarized in three basic topics: Create and maintain a European Network of Earth Observation Networks (ENEON), conduct a gap analysis in the European in-situ Earth Observation networks and coordinate and stimulate the European contribution to GEOSS.

As a previous step towards the gap analysis, a methodology known as “goal approach” is proposed. It analyzes a set of goals for the sustainability of the planet and relates them to the currently accepted Essential Variables (EVs). ConnectinGEO proposes an extension of the current EV concept to other domains, such as agriculture, renewable energy and disaster impacts and prevention. The focus is on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the current set of defined indicators for each goal. Most of these indicators can be monitored by socioeconomic data (that is considered out of scope of ConnectinGEO) but about 15% of them can be assessed using Earth observation, although some of them can only be monitored using variables that are not considered essential yet. In addition, ConnectinGEO advocates that GEO shall influence the UN proposed indicators to give EO more broader scope, in particular in climate change indicators.

The process of revision of the EVs is one of the five threads that ConnectinGEO is using to detect gaps and formalize them in a common model. Another thread is taking the Discovery and Access Broker content as an instrument to generate queries that can look for gaps in the superset of EVs that ConnectinGEO has defined. By doing so, we will be able to know if we are collecting the right information that will help to monitor the SDG.

Another thread of the project is creating the ENEON. After individual contacts and two workshops to discuss the topic, ConnectinGEO has defined the structure of the ENEON in a Steering Assemble, an Executive Board, and a set of Working Groups and Committees. ConnectinGEO is in the process of activating 6 Working Groups that will discuss about the following topics: ENEON and European Directives (ED.WG), EV for SDG monitoring (EV.WG), EO gaps monitoring (GAP.WG), Food, Water and Energy Nexus (FWEN.WG), Standards and technology (ST.WG), and Industry and exploitation of data (ID.WG). By October 2016, ENEON will have its first general assembly where the results of this 6 working Groups will be presented.

In the field of coordinating and stimulating the European contribution to GEOSS, ConnectinGEO is helping to create a community that can better deliver the European Contributions to GEOSS. In particular, ConnectinGEO has established collaboration with several EC projects such as Globis-B, ECOPotential SWOS, ENVRIPlus, GAIA-CLIM, etc. ConnectinGEO is participating in several tasks of the GEOSS transitional Work Plan and will contribute with two sessions to the Global European Project Workshop in 2016. ConnectinGEO is also in contact with GEO national initiatives like GEO Spain and GEO Italy, and is helping the ERAPlanet program to mobilize national funds to GEOSS direction. onnectinGEO is also connected to the RS industry and is organizing “the product of the year” award inside the EARSC membership. ConnectinGEO is also working toward the necessary standards and components to integrate in-situ data and is using the renewable energy domain as a flagship of what can be done using SWE standards family. ConnectinGEO is also related to several Citizens Science that can provide an alternative method to complement official sources.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"ConnectinGEO’s primary goal is to link existing coordinated Earth observation’ networks with science and technology (S&T) communities, the industry sector and the GEOSS and Copernicus stakeholders. The aim is to facilitate a broader and more accessible knowledge base to support the needs of the GEO Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs) and their users. A broad range of subjects from climate, natural resources and raw materials, to the emerging UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is addressed.

This goal has a concrete representation in the creation of the European Network of Earth Observation Networks (ENEON). In summary, two open workshops, one splinter and several internal meetings have been held to define the ENEON: the “Launching the European Network of Earth Observation Networks (ENEON)” splinter session in EGU on the 13 April, 2015 ( and the “ENEON first workshop. Observing Europe: Networking the Earth Observation Networks in Europe” held in Paris the 21-22th September 2015 ( Initial Committees and Working Groups have been defined with initial chairs:

A tangible outcome of the project will be a prioritized list of critical gaps within the European Union in observations and the models that translate observations into practice-relevant knowledge. The prioritized list will include the research activities required to address these gaps. In this sense, initial contribution from the GAIA-CLIM (Gap Analysis for Integrated Atmospheric ECV CLImate Monitoring) community has been received. GAIA-CLIM it’s a H2020 project aiming to improve the ability to use ground-based and sub-orbital observations to characterise satellite observations for a number of atmospheric Essential Climate Variables (ECVs).

An online survey for collecting information on gaps identified by users of observation data has been performed ( This survey helps ConnectinGEO to identify existing issues with data availability, technology, data policies and data quality which need to be addressed to improve and support the work in different SBA. From the analysis of this survey, we will derive corresponding recommendations on how to improve and address these gaps.

To monitor and achieve the above goals, ConnectinGEO is formalising a methodology to first translate user knowledge needs into indicators and then these indicators into essential variables (EV) required for the quantification of the indicators. Finally, these EV are used to refine observation requirements.

The work on the SDG and the EVs was started in the “3rd GEOSS Science & Technology Stakeholder Workshop: Navigating Sustainability on a Changing Planet, 23-25 March 2015, Norfolk, USA” and the “4th GEOSS Science & Technology Stakeholder Workshop: Concepts, Technologies, Systems and Users of the Next GEOSS, 24-26 March 2015, Norfolk, USA” and the Bari Workshop (“Towards a sustainability process for defining GEOSS Essential Variables, 11-12 June 2015, Bari, Italy) respectively, and crystallized in the deliverable D2.1 and D2.2 and the progress made for D2.3.

Regarding ConnectinGEO's objectives achievement in this first year:

a) Enable a European Network of Earth Observation Networks (ENEON) including space-based, airborne and in-situ observations networks with the goal of enhancing the use of Earth observations for assessments, forecasts, and predictions of GEOSS SBA topics and Copernicus services; the emphasis will be on climate, natural resources and raw materials. ENEON will provide a forum to discuss joint strategies across the observation networks to provide integrated and, harmonized perspective of observations and forecasting and projecting. Additionally, strategies to facilitate access and to share the information from EU observing systems will be emphasized.
This objective has made good progress. Two open workshops, one splinter and several internal meetings were held to define the ENEON. The results are a concrete Terms of Reference document that details vision, mission aims and structure and the outline of the Policies and Procedures document that will detail the roles for an operational ENEON. Initial Committees and Working groups has been defined with initiator chairs that will start meeting on Month 13. The detailed progress towards this objective will be described in the WP3 report below in this document.

b) Provide a methodology to convert the knowledge needs in the GEO SBAs derived from GEOSS Strategic Targets, the analysis of Copernicus services and the emerging SDGs into a coherent observation and measurement compendium for ENEON strategy and development.
This objective has been achieved and the methodology is defined in D2.1. Connections to the DAB and GEOSS are explored to make this methodology repeatable and persistent. We are also in contact with a proposal for the European Data HUB that will include mechanism to transfer this methodology to GEOSS. The private sector has been engaged in GEOSS by means of Task 5.5, which is led by EARSC that is stimulating participation of private sector. Among the activities to stimulate this participation is the launch of the competition ""European EO product of the year"" (see section on Task 5.5).

c) Apply the ConnectinGEO methodology in b) above to identify and assess the priority of gaps. The gaps in the information provided by current observation systems as well as the gaps in the systems themselves will be derived from five different threads.
This activity is ready to be developed in the second period. These gaps will be extracted from applying the “goal based approach” specified in D2.1. The UN is expecting to accept the proposed indicators related to the final version of the approved SDGs in March 2016. We will apply the methodology described in D2.1 and tested in D2.3 to the proposed indicators after March 2016.
- Top-Down thread 1. This activity is ready to be developed in the second period. The gaps coming from this thread will be extracted from applying the “goal based approach” specified in D2.1. The UN is expecting to accept the proposed indicators related to the final version of the approved SDGs in March 2016. We will apply the methodology described in D2.1 and tested in D2.3 to the proposed indicators after March 2016.
- Top-Down thread 2 will start in the second period.
- Bottom-up thread 1. The thematic partners of the project (the partners that are experts in an EO domain of application) working with the ENEON are completing the online survey mentioned before, which will result into direct contributions to the gap analysis similar to the input of the GAIA-CLIM.
- Bottom-up thread 2. The starting point of this activity is based on a set of enricher components complementing the information provided by the Discover and Access Broker with specific information about the EVs and other metadata useful for the gap analysis phase. The second challenge is to be able to aggregate this in a way that can be useful for the gaps table definition. The latter will be done in the second period.
- Bottom-up thread 3. This is composed by several individual activities better described in more detail D5. In summary, some gaps have been reported by WP5 leader which need to be described using the D6.1 model. This will be done in the next period. Task 5.2 (Energy Industry Challenge) is almost completed and one of the expected results is the deployment of an in-situ platform ( providing access to renewable energy related datasets based on GEOSS recommendations on interoperability. Other Tasks in WP5 have not started yet and will be carried out in the next period.

d) Open the results of the project and exploit them beyond the project end. Success in this objective will result in (WP7).
This is currently done with the EC and the Belmont forum and will be intensified during the second period. Members of the project participate in several activities in the transitional GEO work plan. In particular, CREAF is the Spanish is member on the Program Board and the project is considering the leadership in the GD-06 (GEOSS in-situ non-space based Earth Observation Resources) task. Tiwah and CNR are leading GD-09 (GEOSS Knowledge Base) task, and the project team makes important contributions to this task. The Copernicus in-situ component participated in the Paris ENEON workshop and we anticipate that they will remain members of ENEON in the future. The GEOSS S&T Portafolio is currently being reviewed and several ConnectinGEO activities will be used as examples for the Portfolio. The methodology has been published in the D6.1. In the second period a more accessible and complete publication is foreseen. This work is in progress. First tools for the gap analysis have been incorporated in the DAB. More tools and best practices are foreseen for the second period. Another virtual collaborative environment is the GEOSS Knowledge Base, and the project is making substantial contributions to this platform. The EVs and gaps/priorities are two topics of the ENEON Working Groups that were set up at the end of the first period. These activities will continue during the second period. CREAF and CNR are participants in the ERA-Planet program, expecting to influence the EO activities in the right direction to cover some of the EO gaps found in Europe thanks to ConnectinGEO. The involvement of the private sector in providing data and products has been stimulated by the EARSC’ product of the year initiative that is on its way. The objective of involving Citizen Observatories has been partially achieved by the collaboration with ECSA and the participation of the project in the ECSA conference."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

ConnectinGEO improves our understanding of which observations are needed to improve monitoring, forecasting and projecting of environmental conditions related to GEO’s Strategic Targets, the SDGs, and the planetary boundaries, and provides a basis to identify and prioritize the gaps in the European EO networks that provide these observations or use them to generate assessments, forecasts and projections. The project directly responds to one of the five key areas of activity identified in the Ministerial guidance document of the Ministerial Summit in 2014 for the next decade of GEO, i.e., “Develop a comprehensive interdisciplinary knowledge base defining and documenting observations needed for all disciplines and facilitate availability and accessibility of these observations to users communities”.

The need of the developing a GEOSS Knowledge base was also reinforced in the Ministerial Summit in 2015 in Mexico and activities to move forward in this direction are presented in the Transitional GEO Work Plan. Responding to this specific part of the Ministerial guidance, ConnectinGEO provides a solid basis for the European contribution to GEOSS and help to ensure that investments in EO networks are coordinated and focused in the prioritized needs of users. ConnectinGEO expects to make impact by the contributions of WP3 (through ENEON) to the GD-06 (GEOSS in-situ non-space based Earth Observation Resources) task and by ensuring a good transition of the ENEON into the ERA-Planet program where CREAF, CNR and IIASA are participants.

ConnectinGEO methodology for gaps detection and prioritization in the in-situ, air-borne and space-borne observation networks have an impact in harmonizing not only European EO networks but also in GEO as a global organization. The project realizes that space-borne data is well structured and organized in Europe by the Copernicus program. In this sense, it has been agreed with the EC that a focus and impact on in-situ and air-borne is more urgent and ConnectinGEO directs its efforts to this direction. The collaboration with the GD-06 task is an excellent opportunity to generate not only a European impact but also a global one through GEOSS.

The focus on observational needs derives from the overarching quest for sustainability that motivates the SDGs, the need to keep the planet within the safe operating space defined by global boundaries, and GEO’s Strategic Targets that respond to these goals and needs, ensure that the observational requirements derived in the project have a maximum societal benefit. The project has formalized this methodology to define the use of EV’s as “goal based approach” and as an outcome of ConnectinGEO. GEO has realized the enormous opportunity that we have on providing the data for monitoring the achievement of the SDG. We expect to deepen this impact during the next period. Sustainability indicators, EV’s, and the associated observational requirements provide a unique basis for the assessment of the existing and planned observation networks, their coordination, and the utilization of their societal benefits. The concept of EV has been incorporated both in the gap analysis methodology and in ENEON. ENEON has set up a dedicated Working Group on this matter (ED.WG. ENEON and European Directives) and the deliverable of this Working Group is expected to impact in the ENEON membership.

ConnectinGEO contributes to more comprehensive and harmonized observational networks with a more homogeneous coverage in Europe, improved continuity, and focused on the variables and specifications required to improve monitoring, forecasting and projection in support of sustainable development and societal benefits. However, ConnectinGEO cannot achieve this impact alone. The results of the ConnectinGEO gap analysis and prioritization will be reported back to the EC and to ERA-Planet. We expect that the ERA-Planet call and future EC SC5 calls can include finance for addressing the reported gaps and the expected impact.

The project supports applicability of the observations through well-documented quality, and facilitate accessibility by following a clear and open data policy. In this sense, data quality and open data are two criteria to be taken into account in the gap analysis and so impact is expected in the form of recommendations and guidance.

ConnectinGEO contributes to GEOSS and to European observation networks by providing a comprehensive observation inventory and a gap analysis. This project' result helps to ascertain the European leadership in many areas of EO for the near future. This expected impact is still in the scope of the work done and to be deepened in the second period.

The portfolio of challenges for Industrial innovation helps to overcome these obstacles and to move the European industry to a better position, and SMEs to develop innovative products derived from (or based on) EO accessible through GEOSS and coordinated networks in Europe. WP5 is thus working in generating impacts in this direction, although more impact is expected in the second period.

ConnectinGEO promotes the GEOSS Data CORE by emphasizing applications that benefit from, or depend on, the Data Core. Open data and the GEOSS Data CORE are two criteria to be taken into account in the gap analysis and the outcome is in form of recommendations and guidances. The project increases coherence of the EO by unifying network structures.

Related information

Record Number: 186671 / Last updated on: 2016-07-14