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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 wor"

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 re

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