IMPACT programme: Results of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) call
The Commission received 190 proposals in response to a call made under the IMPACT 2 programme concerning projects on the development of new technology based on Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The call sought shared-cost projects aimed at business applications for end-users who are not necessarily specialists either in GIS or in the area of application. Proposals could be submitted for electronic information services in any subject area. A total of 596 different organizations took part in the call, some of them entering several proposals. All the Member States were represented, with coverage in the Less Favoured Regions (LFRs) being particularly strong. Small and medium-sized enterprises comprised 527 of the participating organizations, and represent 98 of the 118 companies selected for Community funding. In all, 28 projects were chosen to receive support from the limited definition-phase budget. These projects began the six-month definition phase in July 1993 and are to conclude with demonstrations and evaluations of prototypes in January 1994. Based on this evaluation, it is intended to part-fund about ten of the best projects in a subsequent 18-month implementation phase. Community support for any one project is planned to be at 50% subject to a ceiling of ECU 400,000. Private enterprise dominates the profile of organizations selected to participate in the definition stage (65%), with public administrations forming the second-largest group (18%). Research and academic organizations represent only 10% of the total, reflecting the near-market orientation of the IMPACT programme. The size of the response indicated that the call stimulated great interest in the GIS market although this market is not well established or mature in Europe and shows large regional differences. It is considered that the call was well-timed and that its benefits should be widespread, especially relating to GIS awareness, new uses of GIS technology, the requirement for pan-European data capture and interchange standards, and copyright issues for electronic information.