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Constitution of a European inter-territorial network Living Labs for the applications of satellite technologies

Final Report Summary - RITA (Constitution of a European inter-territorial network Living Labs for the applications of satellite technologies)

Executive Summary:

The RITA project was developed at the crossing of two different concerns emanating from different actors, and of several trends and opportunities. The first concern deals with the difficult development of operational and efficient utilization of the data provided by Earth observation satellites. Except in some areas the development of services is slow when compared to the one of other space technologies such as positioning and telecommunication. The second concern relates to the economic, social and environmental development of rural territories in a society where major cities are driving the economy, leading to a strong imbalance of development between these two types of territories. Innovation appears as a crucial issue for the survival of rural territories.

RITA originates from two existing projects, namely the OSR and the PATS. The OSR is a research observatory which addresses agro-environmental issues and collects continuous in-situ and satellite data at regional scale since 2002. The PATS is driven by local authorities. Its ambition is to serve the development of a rural territory through the development of space technologies applications.

The RITA project builds upon this background. Its overall objective was to explore the conditions for the emergence of a European network of Living Labs dedicated to developing applications of satellite remote sensing and geographic information

RITA has been funded by the "Regions of Knowledge” program of the EU FP7. It started in March 2006 and ended in November 2010.

RITA combines the concepts of experimental territory and Living Lab. We started from the assumption that innovation is fostered by the proximity between research laboratories, training institutions, economic actors, policy makers, public sector organizations and users. The Living Lab actively involves users who co-produce innovation with the other actors. Users are at the center of the innovation process by expressing their needs, translated into specifications of new services, and by validating the prototypes.

RITA focused on the experiment of services derived from space technology and geospatial information and tools. The strategy followed by RITA relied on the development of pilot projects implementing a dynamic of co-construction of needs and products or services with users groups. Three main themes were addressed: agriculture, health, and land management. From the beginning, RITA assumed that the establishment of a spatial data infrastructure will be a critical structuring element for the success of the approach.

The results of the RITA project show that the concept of Territorial Living Lab is an efficient way to develop innovation with a bottom-up approach. We developed a methodology for the co-construction with the actors and users of applications based on the use of geospatial information. RITA showed that the establishment of a spatial data infrastructure can be an efficient way both to foster the development of services based on satellite data and to generate innovation in rural territories. RITA also produced the high level specifications of a spatial data infrastructure. The experiments we performed revealed the importance of the flux of information coming from the users themselves, and the need to provide interactive tools which can be used in a collaborative way.

RITA allowed experiencing the way to set up a territorial Living Lab. RITA’s learnings have already been used to develop new projects in the field of space applications. The next step will be to broaden the approach, in particular through the establishment and networking of several territorial Living Labs in European countries. We believe this network will be a positive contribution to the development of the GMES program.

Project Context and Objectives:

The RITA project was developed at the crossing of two different concerns emanating from different actors, and of several trends and opportunities. The first concern deals with the difficult development of operational and efficient utilization of the data provided by Earth observation satellites. Except in some areas, such as meteorology, science or defence, the development of services is slow when compared to the one of other space technologies such as positioning and telecommunication. The second concern relates to the economic, social and environmental development of rural territories in a society where major cities are driving the economy, leading to a strong imbalance of development between these two types of territories. Innovation appears as a crucial issue for the survival of rural territories.

Several trends and opportunities appear to have the potential to provide answers to the above concerns. First, the European GMES programme (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) will establish by 2014 a European capacity for Earth Observation, and will mark a considerable advance in the provision of operational data. Second, the INSPIRE directive lay down general rules aimed at the establishment of the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community, for the purposes of Community environmental policies. INSPIRE also favors a wider and easier access to public spatial data. INSPIRE shall build upon infrastructures for spatial information established and operated by the Member States. Third, the success of initiatives such as the ones promoted by NASA (Worldwind, 2003) or Google (Google Earth, 2005) demonstrates the value of providing geo-spatial data through simple and open channels. Georeferenced information with a cartographic support is now widely accessible and can be displayed on a variety of devices (ex: computer, smartphone). This evolution considerably increased the appropriation of geographic information by a large public. In the same time, it leads to the development of software for distributing and using this geographic information. The general idea of RITA if that these opportunities could provide a favorable context for developing innovation in rural territories.

In the beginning of the 2000s, CESBIO, a public research laboratory, started to develop the so-called Observatoire Spatial Régional (OSR, Regional Space Observatory) which objective was to serve scientific research on agro-environmental issues by providing long term in-situ and satellite observations at intermediate scales, from local to regional. CESBIO started in parallel to work on web-mapping tools and SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure).

In 2007 a project, called PATS ("Pôle d’expérimentation et d’Application des Technologies Spatiales”), started in the Midi-Pyrénées Region with the ambition to serve the development of a rural territory through the development of space technologies applications. PATS was driven by local authorities and adopted a bottom-up approach, where the needs and constraints of the users and stakeholders were at the centre of the discussions and of the technological developments. The data and results obtained by CESBIO in the frame of the OSR provided the basis for illustrating the capabilities of remote sensing and for initiating pilot projects. PATS puts at the centre of its approach the development of a SDI, as a way to share and capitalize information and data. In fact, under the impulse of the Aida consulting firm, PATS was building a Living Lab, a new way of structuring the dynamics of innovation with an emphasis on users’ involvement in the creation of new services and products. This innovative approach offers an alternative to industrial innovation practices and is widely supported by the European Commission.

The preliminary results we obtained led us to propose the RITA project in the frame of the FP7 Region of Knowledge program. The overall objective of RITA was to explore the conditions for the emergence of a European network of Living Labs dedicated to developing applications of satellite remote sensing, and more generally of geographic information. RITA tests the applicability of the approach implemented in the framework of PATS in a different region, namely Catalonia, Spain.

2.1 The Regional Space Observatory (OSR)

When CESBIO started to implement its Observatoire Spatial Régional (OSR) in the 2000’s, its aim was first to serve its research on land surface functioning (e.g. land cover monitoring, crop and surface fluxes modeling, water and carbon fluxes estimation) at local, landscape, river basin and regional scales. For that, CESBIO set up several micrometeorological ground stations and started to collect data from ground surveys and satellite observations. The experimental area is a 50x50 km zone located to the south of the city of Toulouse. Apart from a significant surface occupied by urban settlements, this area is mainly devoted to agriculture, with some woodlands and grasslands.

A second aim of the OSR is to provide data for designing and testing algorithms used for satellite data processing and for validating the products. This is for example the case for the SMOS and Venµs Earth observation missions.

A third goal of the OSR is to provide a framework for the training of students, mainly from the license to the PhD levels.

From the beginning, the OSR was also intended to carry out demonstration projects with different actors of the territory. The emphasis is on the use of multitemporal decametric resolution images for applications in areas such as agro-environment issues, watershed management, and urban sprawl monitoring. These demonstration projects are designed for preparing the actors to using future operational missions, especially Pleiades and Sentinel-2.

2.2 Cluster for the experimentation and application of space technologies

The participation of CESBIO to the project "Pôle d’expérimentation et d’Application des Technologies Spatiales” (PATS) was a logical continuation of the OSR. PATS is a project driven by the Pays Portes de Gascogne (PPG) and co-financed by the French government.

The PPG is an association which brings together 160 rural municipalities (2 062 km², 56 201 inhabitants) located west of the city of Toulouse. These municipalities share a common project for the economic, social and environmental development in their territory. The Communauté de Communes de la Lomagne Gersoise (CCLG) is a member of PPG and is the project supervisor of the PATS project. For policy makers, PATS is a way to develop the attractiveness, the economy and the environmental policy of its territory. The tool it chose towards this goal is the development of the uses of space technologies.

Together with the PPG, the CCLG and the CESBIO, the Aida consultancy company is the fourth partner of the technical core-team which implements the PATS project. Aida has brought into the project the idea of testing the concept of Living Lab.

The declination of the concept of Living Labs by the PATS puts at the center of the process the idea of creating an experimental territory for space technologies. The concept of territory of experimentation is an original declination of the concept of Living Lab. We started from the assumption that innovation is fostered by the proximity between research laboratories, training institutions, economic actors, policy makers, public utilities and users. The animation of the invention, the evolution of organizations and services, integrating the new resources offered by Information and Communications Technology (ICT) require working with user groups across the territory. With the PATS, the Pays Portes de Gascogne organizes an environment conducive to the introduction of new tools around satellite applications. It structures an experimental territory at a scale where public policy is implemented. Thus, it creates a favorable environment for economic innovation.

In practice, panels of users have been organized around the different topics of interest. The initial topics correspond to the priorities set up by the PPG in its development plan. Meetings have been organized where the current capabilities of remote sensing and web mapping tools were presented by scientists. The materials used mainly came from the results obtained by the Observatoire Spatial Régional. The attendees of these meetings included final users (e.g. farmers, members of municipal assemblies), private actors (e.g. agricultural cooperatives and SMEs), regional state directorates, and territorial communities. From these meetings emerged the identification of needs and users. Pilot projects were defined which implement a dynamic of co-construction of needs and products or services with user groups. The actors involved are willing to lend themselves to testing of applications / services derived from space technology and contribute to express specifications. Three main themes are addressed by the PATS: agriculture, service to the citizens (mainly health) and territory management.

2.3 The RITA project: objectives

The RITA project has been funded by the "Regions of Knowledge” program of the EU FP7. It started in March 2006 and ended in November 2010. The RITA project resulted from the coincidence of four ingredients:

- Assumptions proposed by CESBIO regarding the development of remote sensing applications.
- The existence of the PATS project, anchored in a territory with collectively defined objectives for its development.
- The concept of Territorial Living Lab proposed by the consulting firm Aida.
- And the willingness of two Spanish partners, the Institut de Ciencia i Tecnologia Ambiental (ICTA-UAB) and the Fundacion Forum Ambiental (FFA) to experiencing a similar dynamic in their territory of Catalonia.

During the course of the project, the Consell Comarca de la Selva, a local authority uniting 26 municipalities in Spanish Catalonia, joined the group and established relationships with its French counterparts, PPG and CCLG.

The RITA’s major objective is to investigate new ways to contribute to the development of satellite Earth observations applications at local and regional scales. RITA exploits the existing background of the PATS Living Labs and tests the concept in a different region, namely Catalonia, Spain. Within these general objectives, the partners have defined an action plan with four specific objectives:

- Scientific objectives: to draft the specifications of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). We also performed a review of the current systems and of their uses.
- Economic objectives: to test the concept of Living Labs as a tool for economic innovation within the concerned territories.
- Objective of networking of territories: to reveal the feasibility of implementation of the concept on the Spanish territories and to formalize the actual participation of the Spanish partners.
- Methodological objective: to test the ability of the approach to gather territories being subject to economic structural changes and to duplicate it on other territories, in any activity or research area requiring evaluating the results through fieldwork.

Schematically, one major general goal of RITA is to contribute to the development of the applications of space technologies. This supposes to have a clear understanding of the issues the users are facing, of their needs and of the requirements the applications shall satisfy. Our approach to perform the analysis of users’ needs and requirements did not follow the usual way of users’ interviews or solicitations to fill up a questionnaire. Rather, users’ needs and requirements were identified by carrying out experiments with the users in three different domains: health sector, urban planning and agriculture.

Project Results:


3.1 General approach

The RITA project is the product of a convergence of ideas and assumptions originally argued by CESBIO and ICTA-UAB.

The first assumption is that there is a significant potential of development for applications of remote sensing in the fields of land and resources management on geographical areas ranging from the commune to the region. This potential remains largely underexploited. Its development is hampered by a diverse set of factors. These factors include the ignorance of the possibilities of remote sensing, the difficulty of data access (availability of suitable satellite data, costs ...) the lack of clear commitment on the provision of consistent data on the long term, the skill level required to exploit the data, the difficulty to assess the profitability of services, and the diversity of needs and actors which lead to high transaction costs. In addition, the approach usually followed to developing remote sensing applications is most often of top-down type and implemented by vertically integrated operators and non-specialized lines of business. This approach, implemented for over twenty years, has shown its limits to develop the market in the area of remote sensing applications for land management and agri-environmental issues.

The second assumption is that the development of spatial data infrastructures and the trend towards the provision of public data, especially under the impetus of the European Directive INSPIRE, constitute a favorable framework for greater use of products and services based on remote sensing. In other word, we argue that the use of remote sensing data by local and regional users will really enter a new era if these data are embedded with other data and tools in well-designed SDIs. The success of initiatives such as NASA (Worldwind, 2003) or Google (Google Earth, 2005) demonstrates the value of providing geo-spatial data through simple and open channels.

The third assumption is that the concept of Living Lab deserves to be experimented both as a way to developing the applications of remote sensing observations through the design of the services with the users and as way to foster innovation in rural territories through the networking of actors who usually do not interact.

The approach of RITA aims at testing these three main assumptions using an experimental approach strongly anchored in a territory, the PATS area. In the same time, collaboration with the Catalan partners, including a local authority, allowed to exchange ideas, to transfer experience and knowledge, and to investigate the adaptation of the concept in Catalonia.

From the beginning, we set the objective to establish a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) has a medium term objective. Indeed, the design of this SDI is the cornerstone of the territorial Living Lab approach we explore. The SDI is seen as an essential way to structure and make durable the Living Lab approach and to favour the use of Earth observation data.

The report first explains the Living Lab approach we developed. Second, it presents the experiments we performed to assess user needs and requirements. Third, we present the results of the main RITA technical and scientific objective which was to draft the high level specifications of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). In the last part of this report section, we present some learnings which could be useful when a Living Lab approach is to be used for the development of innovation in the field of remote sensing and geospatial information. These ideas are based on the four years experience acquired within the PATS and RITA projects. We do not pretend that they are of general value in every context, nor that we have explored all the questions and issues. We simply hope that this feedback from experience could be useful to others.

3.2 The Living Lab approach

Schematically, one major general goal of RITA is to contribute to the development of the applications of space technologies and to the sustainable development of rural territories, in its three economic, social and environmental dimensions. This supposes to have a clear understanding of the issues the users are facing, of their needs and of the requirements the applications shall satisfy.

Our approach to perform the analysis of users’ needs and requirements did not follow the usual way of users’ interviews or solicitations to fill up a questionnaire. Past experiences, as well as the preliminary learning of the PATS project convinced us that most of the stakeholders and actors of rural territories have a weak knowledge of the capabilities, limits, cost, and way of production of Spatial Data Infrastructures and of remote sensing products. Most of them did not even know what a Geographic Information System is. In these conditions, the interviews and questionnaires would provide a very poor view of users needs.

In addition, our objective is to identify applications that will be perennial and to initiate a continuous process of innovation.

Consequently, we decided to identify users’ needs and requirements by carrying out experiments with the users in three different domains: health sector, urban planning and agriculture. We will detail more specifically the urban planning experiment which provided the most mature results in a domain of worldwide concern. But before that, let us summarize the concept of territorial Living Lab.

3.2.1 The concept of Living Lab

The creation and development of industrial clusters has spread out as an effective instrument to channel business co-operation initiatives towards innovation and internationalization. It has been widely proved and documented that geographical concentration of interconnected businesses, suppliers and associated institutions in particular fields increases the productivity of companies, in particular of SMEs, and therefore their national, European and global competitiveness. Within the former EU 15 countries and from the early 90s, most of the Regional Development Agencies have promoted the creation of industrial clusters in their respective territory (see for example information on the European Cluster Observatory web-site). “Innovation poles” or clusters are not easily built from the scratch but strongly depend on pre-existing scientific and/or industrial strengths. The successful design and implementation of cluster policies therefore depend on a clear and thorough identification of the existing industrial and science bases.

The role of clusters in EU innovation policy was highlighted by the European Commission in several circumstances, such as for examples its Communication of 11 March 2003, "Innovation policy: updating the Union's approach in the context of the Lisbon strategy” or its Communication to the 2005 Spring European Council on the Mid-Term Review of the Lisbon Strategy where the Commission underlines the importance of “innovation poles” for competitiveness and growth.

The 7th Framework Program is considering clusters as a key instrument in the Regions for Knowledge initiative, where suitable participants would be ‘Consortia of Regional research driven clusters or a single research-driven cluster having multinational partnership’.

Research-driven clusters are concentrations of at least three types of legal entities (so called 'triple helix'), namely of:

- Research organizations (public research centers, universities, not-for-profit bodies),
- Business entities (large enterprises and SMEs as defined in the EC recommendation 2003/361/CE of 6 May 2003, OJ L 124/36, 20/05/2003) or their local groupings;
- Regional or local authorities (local government, regional development agencies)

And in addition, where appropriate, local entities such as chambers of commerce, savings banks and banks, operating in a particular scientific and technological domain or economic sector.

According to these definitions of clusters and research driven clusters, the role of users (or customers) is not emphasized so much. As noticed by the EC green paper COM(2011) 48, “The ultimate users of innovations (be they citizens, businesses or the public sector) should be involved much earlier in our actions to accelerate and broaden the exploitation of results and to encourage greater public acceptance in sensitive fields such as security or nanotechnology.” However the goal is not only to “encourage acceptance” or to test products. As stated in the same document, the users should be part of the innovation process: “New approaches could also be considered, particularly those stimulating the demand side and aiming to involve public and private end users earlier and more closely in the innovation process.”

The concept of Living Lab is intended to overcome the current limited involvement of users in most clusters and, on the contrary, to develop user-centric approach of innovation.

A Living Lab can be defined as “a system based on a business-citizens-government partnership which enables users to take active part in the research, development and innovation process. Products and services are developed in a real-life environment in a human centric and co-creative way, based on continuous feedback mechanisms between the developers and the users” (Altec 2009).

As Open Innovation platforms, European Living Labs aim “at creating a user environment where users are confronted with ideation and prototypes or demonstrators of technology from the early stages of the research, development and innovation process, not only at the end”, as it is the case “in more classical field trials or product testing approaches”.

We quote below the presentation of the Living Lab concept by Genoux and Schweizer, 2009: "Around a research methodology focused on users, the concept of Living Lab is organizing an information area and encounters between researchers, enterprises and civil society. By actively involving users, such exchanges allow going into ideas and concepts in depth, to co-produce prototypes, to test utilizations and to improve products, processes or services prior to production and deployment on the marketplace. The Living Labs are environments for open innovation immersed in real life, where innovation brought by the user is fully integrated with the process of co-designing new products, services or societal infrastructures." (The original document is in French, the translation in English is ours)

3.2.2 The concept of Territorial Living Lab experimented with RITA

The declination of the concept of Living Labs by the PATS puts at the centre of the process the idea of creating an experimental territory for space technologies. The concept of territory of experimentation is an original declination of the concept of Living Lab. Most of the applications of space technologies have a natural geographic dimension: this is obvious when considering remote sensing, which usually produces gridded data over a territory which can extend to the whole of the Earth, positioning (GPS, Galileo) which provides geo-location services, and satellite telecommunication, especially when it is used to compensate for limited services in badly served areas.

But what makes the territory a pivotal level is that it combines the geographical dimension with a political dimension. These geographic and political dimensions are usually complex, since for example different levels of policy making are to be considered when working on a given territory. The support or at least the benevolence of the key players of the territory is important to legitimate the Living Lab approach to the stakeholders and particularly to make it sustainable. The key players, and especially the politicians among them, have the capabilities to mobilize the local actors and to link the various levels of the territorial governance.

In practice, panels of users have been organized around the various topics of interest. The initial topics correspond to the priorities set up by the PPG in its development plan. Meetings have been organized where the current capabilities of remote sensing and web mapping tools were presented by scientists. The materials used mainly came from the results obtained by the Observatoire Spatial Régional. The attendees of these meetings included final users (e.g. farmers, members of municipal assemblies), private actors (e.g. agricultural cooperatives and SMEs), regional state directorates, and territorial communities. From these meetings emerged the identification of needs and users. Pilot projects were defined which implement a dynamic of co-construction of needs and products or services with user groups.

These pilot projects form the basis from which the high level specifications of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) were drawn. The following section describes the different stages and the process that led to these specifications.

3.3 Analysis of user needs and requirements

The Pays Portes de Gascogne (PPG) and the Communauté de Communes de la Lomagne Gersoise (CCLG) with the help of Aida and CESBIO have organized panels of stakeholders around four topics, namely agriculture, water management, land management and health. For every panel, meetings have been held which gather stakeholders and partners of the project.

The objective of these panels' meetings is not to propose ready-to-use products. It is rather to generate and accompany the co-construction of innovative applications on the basis of pre-existing or new needs. The technologies and services which could satisfy these needs may already exist, but in most case specific developments or even sometimes additional research are required. This is an iterative process, quite different from a top-down approach where standard products are proposed by a company.

This process, which we tentatively call co-construction process, is detailed hereafter for the specific case of urban and land planning. Next, we summarize the other experiments that we performed using a similar methodology.

3.3.1 Urban planning

The experiment we describe in this section deals with the topic of urban planning. However, we think that the general process is applicable to a variety of fields of activity.

Before starting the co-construction process, it is first necessary to identify a general topic, the actors who might be involved, and to have a general understanding of the issues at stake on the territory. Pre-existing relationships between one or several research laboratories and policy makers, decision makers or any kind of organization which has responsibilities and a broad view of the territory are essential to achieve this upstream work. This aspect is an important dimension of a territorial Living Lab. In our case, such relationships existed thanks to the PATS project.

The starting point of the process was the willing of three small municipalities to jointly implement an area of economic activity. They requested help from the Community of communes, which accepted provided they agree to participate in an experiment dealing with the contribution of remote sensing and geospatial information to the design of their local urban plans (Plan Local d’Urbanisme, PLU), taking into account environmental issues such as the green and blue ecological corridors. Only one out of the three municipalities already established a PLU, a second one was ready to choose a consulting firm to prepare it and the third one was considering whether to engage in the establishment of a PLU.

The process which we experimented involves four workshops running over a four months period approximately. Participants in the workshop were mainly the mayors and members of the municipal councils, the representatives of the community of communes and of the Pays, a remote sensing laboratory, the CESBIO, and the Aida consulting company. Aida was in charge of the organization, coordination, methodology and of the animation of the workshops.

The aim of the first workshop is to explain the process to the actors, to understand in which way the PLU is developed in these three particular cases, and to make emerge their needs, fears, their interests, and possibly the different views or conflicts which could exist. We extensively used Google Earth, displayed on a large screen, as a support for the animation. One of the objectives was to identify what data were available to the municipalities for designing their PLUs.

Several observations and findings came out from this extremely rich first workshop:

- Very few data (maps, data bases ...) are available to these small municipalities and the main role of consulting firms is to gather these data from upper levels sources (national statistics, topographic maps ...).
- Most of the actors are not familiar with topographic maps and even less with geographic information systems (GIS) or geospatial digital information.
- Remote sensing data from airborne or satellite sensor as presented in Google Earth (“true colours", high resolution of 50 cm, 3D capability) are better understood than a map. Some of the actors have already used this tool for their personal needs. In addition, an “image” of the surface contains more information, such as the crop fields, than a topographic map.
- The process of the workshop had several side effects for the actors. For example, they had to deepen their thought on their own objectives. To tell it simply: do they want a PLU as a way to defend their territory and well-being against possible “invaders”, or are they in a more positive and pro-active attitude? The initial motivation seems to be the willing to protect the way of life which could be endangered by the future high speed train station in Agen, 30 km away.

In the second workshop, new layers prepared by the CCLG and CESBIO were presented using Google Earth. These layers included for example ecological corridors derived from remote sensing, but also layers of information produced by different public organizations (e.g. flood risks, socio-economic data).

Google Earth as a tool to support discussions : limits of the three municipalities and preliminary design of a hiking trail

Map of existing green corridors

The second workshop led to the emergence of a common vision regarding projects such as hiking trails and an area of economic activity. It also revealed the absence, and the need, of a system aimed to the memorization of the various cartographic data and of the other information collected in various circumstances. Each time a new study is performed consulting firms spend most of their time collecting data. Most of these data are recorded on paper support when dealing with municipal scale. This weak memory of the results of past studies hampers the re-use of the data, for example to track changes or when the municipal team changes. In addition, the collection and consolidation of the data set at higher territorial levels, such as the community of commune can be hardly achieved.

Discussions about the green and blue corridors also started during this second workshop. The debate was rather controversial at the beginning, the ecological corridors being seen as a new constraint. A visit on the terrain was organized by an NGO, Arbres et Paysages 32, which promotes the role of trees in the environmental and agricultural practices. A map of existing green corridors was produced by CESBIO. These activities permitted to overcome the initial controversies and to enter a more quiet and objective debate where green corridors appeared as a potential component of the local development (landscape attractiveness, biomass energy, erosion limitation, wood products…). Interestingly, we also noticed that the debate moved from ecological issues to questions regarding the role and future of the agriculture and of the local farmers.

The third workshop was first devoted to a general presentation by CESBIO of the capabilities of remote sensing, of its near future especially with GMES and Pléiades, of Geographic Information Systems and of the current development of Spatial Data Infrastructures. In order to follow up the questions on the role of agriculture in the territories, we prepared and presented an estimate, partly based on remote sensing data, of the turnover of agriculture in the three municipalities. The second part of the meeting addressed a mid-term review and the collective synthesis of the benefits and weaknesses of the process. We collected the reactions of the municipal teams to the approach, to the data and to the tools used.

This workshop demonstrated the interest of the actors for geospatial information and for the associated tools (GIS, web-mapping). It also revealed that the process has numerous interesting side effects. For example it has led to a common design of hiking trails, with connections to the tourism economy. More important, the process opened the debate on the possible territorial development scenarios, emphasized the need to integrate several scales, from a single municipality to larger territories (for example for health services, transportation, education), and legitimated the role of the community of communes, the CCLG, to encouraging common policies. The Living Lab process also reinforces the role of the CCLG to assist contracting authorities and to facilitate the link with research organizations, consulting firms, and respect of regulations.

The fourth workshop was aimed at capitalizing the results of the experiment. In addition to the municipal teams who participated to the experiment from the beginning, urban planning consultants as well as representative of the other municipalities of the Pays were invited.

This workshop led the actors to express the functions which a local information system should implement, from a user point of view. We exploited this result to deduce the specifications of a SDI and of a specialized web application (see section 3.4.3).

The workshop also pinpointed several items, which can either be taken into account by the specifications or which require further discussions and work:

• Geospatial tools, digital geospatial information and internet are very useful to feed and objectivise sensitive debates on issues such as urban planning
• Urban planning consultants consider that these new tools could be part of their future offer
• Google Earth can be used for workshop animations. However, the development of a dedicated interactive tool, with easy to use interfaces, is needed
• The availability and agreed conditions of access to data is a prerequisite for developing the utilization of geospatial information in rural territories
• The experiment revealed the essential role of inter-communal engineering
• Even if satellite or aerial high resolution data (<1m resolution) are easily comprehended and used by the actors, products derived from satellite decametric data proved useful for layers such as land cover, green corridors or water bodies. The difference is that metric resolution data can be used without further processing, while in most cases, at 10m resolution, thematic products are more useful than raw products.

3.3.2 Health sector experiment

The health sector experiment was carried out within the general context of health services in rural areas, ageing population and of the difficult renewal of health professionals. This experiment followed a similar approach than the urban planning experiment, with several workshops which have progressively created a common culture.

These workshops allow defining the topic of a first experiment, as well as the conditions under which the experiment could be implemented. The topic deals mainly with an improved communication between all the professionals of the care (private practitioners, the hospital nurses...) the patient and his family. Even if RITA deals with geospatial information, the experiment devised by the outputs of the workshops mainly involves telecommunication and computing facilities. The possible use of space technologies such as positioning and satellite communication were mentioned, but was not considered as a top priority for a first experiment.

The experiment defined with the health sector professional was not developed further for political reasons. A new sanitary organization was to be implemented at the French national level, with strong implications at all administrative levels. As a consequence, the priority of the professionals was not the experiment but the adaptation to the new context.

This experience illustrates an important aspect of the concept of territorial Living Lab. Although the main objective was the design of services based on space technology, other types of services may occur during the process and should be considered whenever possible since the development of the territory is also an objective of the overall process.

3.3.3 Agriculture sector experiment

The agricultural sector was the first one addressed by the PATS project, before RITA begins. Several workshops were held that brought together farmers, cooperatives and representatives of chambers of agriculture, and water management bodies. The target users were initially farmers and cooperatives. Most farmers and cooperatives had a first experience of remote sensing because they were clients of a precision farming service.

The workshops did not follow exactly all four steps outlined above because the conditions were not met to go beyond the second workshop. The territory of PATS is different from that of the OSR, CESBIO did not possess at that time the satellite and field data that would have been needed for presenting examples of applications over the territory experienced by the farmers involved. From a technical point of view, the agricultural issue is more complex than that of urban planning and would have requested staff resources which were not available. In addition the animation methodology of a Living Lab developed during the experience of urban planning was not yet defined.

The workshops, however, allowed presenting the different possible applications of remote sensing for the agriculture, at the plot scale: precision agriculture, water management, monitoring of conditions of crop growth and biomass estimation. They were also instructive for appreciating some of the key issues that farmers and cooperatives are facing and the services expected from the observation by remote sensing. The primary service expected by farmers is the advice to limit inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, water), in order to reduce ecological impacts and costs, while in the same time maintaining the yields, or more accurately the income of farmers. For cooperatives, the challenge is to evolve their business model by further developing commercial services for farmers.

Meetings with users’ panels revealed their interest for two broad types of remote sensing products:

i) Land cover and land use maps, for use mainly by actors in charge of a rather large area (e.g. agricultural cooperative and Agricultures Chamber). Apart from crop species mapping, more detailed information is required, such as irrigated fields, parcels cultivated under biofarming practices, help to control production contracts, and erosion risk mapping.
ii) Crop functioning, with encompasses many applications such as growth status, yield estimate, water and nutrient requirements, and crop heterogeneity within a parcel for precision farming. These products, with suitable customization and aggregation, are required both at the plot level and over large areas, depending on the actors.

The workshops made emerge new learnings and ideas. For example, the interests and vision of the cooperatives and of the farmers, not to mention the other actors in agriculture, are not always identical, and the animation of the process must be careful with this situation. One way is to hold separate workshops, and then to confront the views in plenary workshops. We also noticed that the farmers are more and more accustomed to internet servers which help them to manage their farm and to perform the declarations required by the Common Agricultural Policy.

Regarding the specifications of the Spatial Data Infrastructure which would fit the needs of the agricultural sector, the workshops revealed that this SDI should not only provide information to the actors, but should be able to collect data and information produced by the actors themselves.

Others important lessons concern the value chain to implement, especially on the bottom of this chain.

The workshops did not lead to the experimentation of services in the time frame of RITA. However, they have had several important outcomes. A research project devoted to the sunflower sector is being carried out, with the participation of one of the cooperative which participated in the workshops. Several new projects which capitalize on the learnings of these workshops have been worked out and have now started or are being evaluated : we describe these achievements in the section 4.

3.3.4 Summary of users needs and requirements

The experiments we performed with the local actors are complex, multidisciplinary and pertain to many different subjects, such as territorial economy, collective governance and land planning. The Living Lab approach itself could be analysed in view of the needs of its users. However, we will concentrate here on the lessons of these experiments which only concern the spatial data infrastructures.

One must keep in mind that most of the potential users have no idea of what could be done using geographic information and remotely sensed data. The users are able to express what are the problems they have to face or the tasks they have to achieve. In some cases, they can also say what the information they would need in their practice is. However, they hardly imagine the potential benefit of the new information that remote sensing data and crossing of information layers in a GIS could bring. Users are seldom in the position to define the details of the functionalities they expect a SDI should provide.

The experiments which we carried out led to an improved awareness of the actors regarding these topics, but the users are not still in a position to clearly define their requirements in terms of remote sensing product and SDI functionalities. The general needs and requirements that we present hereafter are therefore the results of our own analysis. The assessment of their pertinence will have to be further validated through an iterative process relying on new experiments.

Given the diversity of situations and domains of competence, the assessment of all the users’ needs can be hardly achieved. We focus here on the needs of actors involved in land planning and territorial development at scales ranging from the municipality to municipality community.

These actors require information on a number of topics, such as topographic maps, infrastructures, buildings, inhabitants, employment, and economy, to cite only a few. The reinforcement of risk and environmental concerns and regulations introduce the needs of new information regarding for example humid zones or ecological corridors. The experiments also revealed the potential of SDI to support tourism policies. The actors clearly expressed several needs:

• Access to as much information layers as possible, while keeping the interface simple and easy to use;
• Preserve and re-use the data acquired in the past, in order to analyze changes, assess policy impacts, or simply avoid paying to acquire same or similar data;
• Inform the stakeholders before, during and after a given process (e.g. urban planning)
• Provide data and easy to use tools for collaborative work and participative meetings
• Display the maps and data and perform simple processing, through an easy to learn and ergonomic interface: localization, panning, zoom, lines and polygons drawing (ex: hiking trails), addition of layers (e.g. administrative limits), time evolution;
• Allow to access the data in order to perform more complex processing, analysis, editing and printing. These tasks could be performed by the few trained technicians of the territorial collectivities;
• Secure the access to the data according to a data policy, different type of users having different authorizations

Regarding airborne or satellite data, the primary requirement is that the ground resolution should be 50 cm or better, with a good but not yet quantified geometric registration of the various layers. These very high resolution images are immediately understood and used by the actors. On the contrary, images with coarser resolutions (e.g. 2.5m and morevover, 10 ml and 20 m Spot images) are seldom used directly: processing is needed to transform these images in useful information (e.g. land cover or crops map, ecological corridor, income of field crop production, erosion risk…). Of course, even the very high resolution images can enter a processing chain in order to automatically extract objects (buildings …).

A positive output of the experiments is the increased understanding of the actors regarding the interests and benefit of mutualisation of the data through Spatial Data Infrastructures.

Regarding the Living Lab approach, all the actors were extremely motivated and positive.

3.4 High level specifications of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI)

Before drafting the specification of a SDI, we first analyzed the existing SDI in both regions, Catalonia and Midi-Pyrenees. From this survey of existing SDI and of users needs, we propose the functional specification of a SDI, as well as some criteria which can be used to assess its usefulness.

3.4.1 What is a SDI?

We initially used, for example in the RITA’s proposal, the concept of Environmental Information System. However, the EIS is a broad concept and there is no standard definition of what it is (e.g. Haklay, 1999). Instead of EIS, we now prefer to use the term of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI).

SDI is also a broad concept, but contrary to EIS, it insists on the geographic nature of the information and does not restrict the scope to environmental issues. According to the SDI Implementation Cookbook “The term “Spatial Data Infrastructure” (SDI) is often used to denote the relevant base collection of technologies, policies and institutional arrangements that facilitate the availability of and access to spatial data. The SDI provides a basis for spatial data discovery, evaluation, and application for users and providers within all levels of government, the commercial sector, the non-profit sector, academia and by citizens in general. […] A SDI must be more than a single data set or database; a SDI hosts geographic data and attributes, sufficient documentation (metadata), a means to discover, visualize, and evaluate the data (catalogues and Web mapping), and some method to provide access to the geographic data. Beyond this are additional services or software to support applications of the data. To make an SDI functional, it must also include the organizational agreements needed to coordinate and administer it on a local, regional, national, and or trans-national scale.” ( Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association)

Technically, a SDI has two main components. On the one side, there are one or several computers, the servers, which store the data and catalogue and have the capability to send data and maps on the web. On the users’ side, client softwares allow to search and display the data, and to exploit the services provided by the servers. Some SDIs also provide more or less sophisticated services (e.g. drawing of polygons by the client).

One important feature is the interoperability of the servers when they conform to the Open Geospatial Consortium and Inspire standards. This interoperability forms the basis of the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) which the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA) are establishing together with the Member States in order to build integrated and shared EU-wide environmental information system.

3.4.2 Review of the existing Spatial Data Infrastructure

The review of the existing Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) and EIS in Midi-Pyrénées and Catalonia has been performed at the beginning of the RITA’s project, in 2008 and 2009, by means of internet sites survey and discussions. It revealed some major features. SDI development is more advanced in Catalonia than in Midi-Pyrénées

The number of operational SDI is far greater in Catalonia than in the Midi-Pyrénées Region. The reasons of this difference probably result from several factors. First, the political and economical autonomy is greater in Catalonia than in Midi-Pyrénées. The Generalitat de Catalunya (Autonomous Government of Catalonia) has large responsibility to manage its territory and has developed its own specialized institutions such as the Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya (see Craglia and Campagna, 2009, for a description of Catalonian Spatial Data Infrastructures). Second, development of MiraMon EIS software started as soon as 1998 in the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB). MiraMon GIS is now widely used by a number of ministries of the Catalan government, as well as in other countries. Third, development and application of GIS specifically designed for local administrations (SIXTELL, SIGMUN) is a successful experience.

In 2002, Catalonia began the IDEC (Infraestructura de Dades Espacials de Catalunya the Spatial Data Infrastructure of Catalonia, which objective is to promote the use of geographic information by making data more easily available to public and private sector users, and to the general public. The legal framework was adopted in 2005 (Law n°16/2005) according to which (art. 6) the ICC has the technical responsibility for creating and maintaining the SDI, and, to this end, collaborates with other public organizations and local administrations as coordinating body (Craglia and Campagna, 2009). According to Garcia Almirall et al. (2008), the overall investment of €1.5 million over a five year period generates total internal savings to local authorities of more than €2.6 million per year. It also generates other socio-economic benefits, such as improved services provided by small municipalities, which are more difficult to quantify. The Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya provides the main base mapping, all products being available via WMS (Web Map Service).

Review of the applications in Catalonia shows that the most successful cases have a clear goal based on a clear definition of a service. They include not only geo-information but also provide expertise, staff for advising, consulting and training. One of the most important socio-political implications is the application of IDEC services in the local rural areas, which has helped to reduce the digital gap between the small towns and the larger ones and favor the interactions between the administrations and the citizens.

During the course of RITA, the Midi-Pyrénées Region started a project to develop its own SDI. This project, called CRIGEOS (Centre Régional d’Information GEOSpatiale, is now in development. It aims at:

- The pooling of expertises and of purchase of data, software, equipment to reduce costs for all local governments, and organizations that have public functions.
- The provision to local authorities, state departments and agencies that have public missions with coherent and consistent geographic databases and partnerships for negotiating licenses and for grouping orders
- The creation of a centre of excellence for training future users of geomatics and spatial information in the Midi-Pyrenees local authorities and developing a network of SME in the field of geomatics.
- The development Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) to implementing at the regional scale the European Directive INSPIRE.

An original project is developed by the “Assemblée Pyrénéenne d’Economie Montagnarde” (APEM) whose mission is the collective construction of a socioeconomic observatory of the french Pyrenees, in the perspective of sustainable development and mobilization of various stakeholders on the challenges of mountain. The APEM has set up a web server of geospatial information for the French part of the Pyrenees (SIG Pyrénées/ Pyrenees GIS, It has also performed positive tests of networking with Spanish and Andorran SDIs, therefore giving a transnational dimension to the Pyrenees GIS. Few remote sensing product in SDIs

Apart from the CORINE land cover datasets, space remote sensing (RS) products are seldom used by the SDIs we studied in both regions. Some of them provide Landsat coverage, used as a background image of the surface. The Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya ( provides free access to its aerial coverages at various scales through WMS, which can also be freely downloaded in MrSid format. In France, the national Geoportail of the Institute Géographique National (IGN) provides public access to maps, aerial photography and other layers from the IGN or partner bodies in view mode only ( Access to data through WMS and WCS is for now only possible for registered partners.

We noted an increasing interest of institutions which operate a SDI for the products space remote sensing could provide. However, the degree of awareness of the capabilities and limits of remote sensing is generally low with the exception of the staff behind SIGPAC (the agricultural GIS), who is very interested in including information derived from satellite remote sensing in their system. In the Midi Pyrenees Region, the CRIGEOS has established a working group devoted to satellite imagery and land cover. Few examples of on-line interactions between the users and the SDI

A clear trend in both regions is the development of SDIs which comply with international norms (ISO 19115 for metadata and ISO 19139 for catalogues) and which follow the rules of the EC INSPIRE directive and of the OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium). SDI interoperability is seen as a major goal.

For now, most of the SDIs deliver data freely with WMS format, but in Catalonia more and more data are delivered with WFS or WCS formats at no charge for non commercial uses (research and public administrations). WMS format means that the data can be used for display but not for further analysis. We did not identify any complex applications based on Web Processing Service (WPS), even if some rather simple implementations exist, for example for the transformation of coordinates or the capture of drawings (points, lines and polygons). A mechanism (IDEC Local) exists in Catalonia to help local authorities to produce their own data and metadata and to include them in interoperable or IDEC servers.

Most of the SDIs we studied propose client software which allows the user to display geographic information and to choose the overlay of several layers. The client software is generally accessible through an internet browser, and the data are stored on the server of the SDI operator. Access to data existing on different servers slowly spreads through the use of the WMS standard. An even more limited number of SDIs proposes to access the data using standards such as WCS and WFS, which allow the user to process the data on its own computer. The same remark applies for the upload of data from the client desktop to the SDI server. We assume that two main reasons might explain this situation. First, these WFS, WCS and especially WPS standards are rather new (respectively released in 2002 and 2009). Second, not all the SDIs operators wish to provide a free access to data for further processing.

Note that the above remarks do not apply to SDIs with restricted access. These SDIs generally have a narrow range of uses addressing professional needs, such as the management of land (e.g. cadastre) or cities infrastructures.

Public access to the data reflects the current shift from systems which provide only data visualization towards systems facilitating the selection of information to be downloaded for further analysis. But there are still significant reserves towards disclosing the information which is of obvious interest to the public and stakeholders. For example, there is virtually no access to information on the geographic distribution of health indicators. The progressive implementation of the INSPIRE directive, through its translation in national regulations, will maybe improve the situation.

At this stage of the survey, we believe that the most successful SDIs are not only tools for providing information but systems composed of a geoinformation system and of a technical team able to help local communities at actually taking decisions in a particular domain. The social impact of a system does not only rely on its design as a tool for providing geoinformation but on its capability to act as a decision support system. The geoinformation system must be supported by a technical team having some familiarity with the applications.

3.4.3 Functional requirements of the Spatial Data Infrastructure

Schematically a SDI has two main components: i) a geospatial information server that manages and retrieves the information requested by a user and ii) a client software that allows a user to send requests to the server and to visualize or even process the data on its own computer or on a server.

These two components should be compatible with the international standards, such as ISO 19115 for metadata, and with the implementation rules defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and INSPIRE. Such compatibility is required to benefit of the interoperability between SDIs that these standards permit.

The main design principle of a SDI distinguishes between the service interface and the service implementation. Service interface describes the functional capabilities of a service. Service implementation implements what a service shall execute. This principle provides a clean separation between service interfaces (services offer to users) and internal implementations (how they work). Services can be discovered, aggregated, published, reused, and invoked at the interface level, independently of the specific technology used internally to implement each service.

• Discovery (find, locate) involves the use of metadata catalogues services (CSW standards)
• Evaluation involves detailed reports, sample data and visualisation (web mapping, WMS,WFS,WCS standards) to determine whether the data is of interest
• Access involves ordering, packaging and delivery, offline or online, of the data specified (HTTPS, security standards and protocols)
• Exploitation (use, employ) is what the user does with the data for his own purpose (WPS Standards).

The above requirements are rather general and tend to be widely accepted in the geospatial world. More specifically, the richness of the RITA’s project comes from the results of the experiments we performed with the actors. In addition to the functionalities which are implemented in most service interfaces (find, locate, visualize ...) we emphasize hereafter the more original functional capabilities that a SDI should implement:

- Data shall be available at different scales and cover different geographic domain. For example, a local urban plan, at municipality level, requires data at a very fine scale (~ 1/10 000 or better) over a small area. But the design of this local urban plan also requires data on a larger area, for example to account for transportation networks, the location of public services (e.g. schools, hospitals), flooding areas or for connecting local green corridors with regional ones. This means that the client interface should allow accessing both local data and more general ones. Interoperability of different SDIs is a key in order to allow for these changes in the scales of analysis. The client interface should propose the user an easy way to know which data are available at the different scales. In terms of organization, for instance at regional level, this requirement implies to analyse in deep who collect and manage the data at a given scale.
- Different levels of permission to access the data: there are several reasons to grant different access to different users. For instance, some data are only fully available for public research and public services, while the other types of users have only permission for viewing or even no permission at all. The SDI shall implement an accurate management of permissions for groups of users.
- Different interfaces are needed: even if the set of data is open to everybody, the utilization of the data varies according to user's interest, work and skills. In order to facilitate the use of the system by the users, the client interface shall be customized to different categories of users. For instance, the actors explicitly required a simple interface for the general public. In that case, the software should allow inserting displays within a web page with editorial content. Other categories of users are for example municipal to regional elected officials and their staff, agriculture professionals, tourism offices, and state services. Different client interfaces are required in order to make the appropriation of geospatial information by these different users easier. This requirement of versatility implies building the client software upon libraries of generic modules.
- SDIs users deal with a variety of issues which frequently cannot be addressed by already existing dataset. Some additional work has to be performed, such as crossing layers. This can only be achieved if the server implements the Web Coverage Service (WCS) and the Web Feature Service (WFS). These services will also be used by technicians and scientists trained to GIS work in order to perform more complex tasks.
- The SDI shall facilitate shared contributions: our experiments revealed that most actors, users, and potentially the general public are not only passive users but can be providers of data to the system. For instance, the capability to draw vectors (points, lines and polygons) and to upload geolocated photographies shall be offered to the user. This means that the system shall allow bidirectional fluxes of data, from the server(s) towards the users and vice versa. This functionality can be implemented through the Web Processing Service (WPS).

- Our experiments revealed the potential of geospatial information as an aid for the animation of stakeholders and public debate meetings (e.g. local urban planning, flood risk mitigation ...). Therefore, the SDI and its client interface shall facilitate collaborative work. This is a strong requirement when implementing a Living Lab approach, which translates in a number of functionalities. For instance, the system should allow:

• Easy alternation between 2D and 3D viewing,
• Preservation of contexts (e.g. a specific area with defined layers) in order for example:
o to start from a similar view from one meeting to another,
o to easily support exchange between the actors through the internet in the interim of the meetings,
o to limit the display to the area of interest when a user connects through the web. This is the default mode which shall not prevent the user to explore other geographic areas.
• Management of understandable list of data that distant servers could provide when needed in the course of the meetings

- The SDI shall be able to manage different projects, for instance several ongoing urban plans over different areas of a same region, which correspond to several groups of users. Not only the default view shall correspond to the area of interest of a specific group, but the system shall manage different status of the information (geographic layers and other documents) with different access grants. The status of the information corresponds for example to preliminary or validated data.

More specific characteristics arise from panels’ meetings. We only mention the three most salient:

- Trained users are able to use OGC compatible GIS to achieve their work, but specific client softwares have to be developed to facilitate use of the SDI by weakly trained users.
- The client interface shall be able to propose advanced and user-friendly analysis of time series of data, not only through movie building. This feature is seldom, not to say neither, available in existing SDI.
- The system, both on the server and client side, should implement the Web Processing Service (WPS). This standard defines how a client can request the execution of a process, and how the output from the process is handled. We believe this feature is a key issue to keep the SDI active, up-to-date, and obtain a maximum benefit for users.

3.5 Some learnings on experimenting the Living Lab approach

A Living Lab involves many different actors with sometimes conflicting interests and implies a number of meetings. In addition, it has to consider the links between local, regional, national and European policies. This is for example the case with the environmental policies. These policies are implemented at the local and regional level, whereas they are decided at the upper levels. We believe that not only technical expertises are needed to operate a Living Lab, but also skills in social sciences. In the course of RITA, the Aida Company has brought these skills to the project. One has to be aware that rural territories often suffer of a lack of manpower, and especially of people with a technical background. Consequently, the project engineering might heavily lean on the academic staff, until additional resources are found to hire dedicated people. Despite this difficulty, there are still several short term benefits for the territories, such as for example links with the whole research community through the involved laboratories. We experimented that these links are useful to bring expertise to local authorities in various areas, including the ones which are not directly connected to the topic of the Living Lab.

The users are central in the Living Lab approach. Our experience shows that a significant effort has to be devoted to training users to new technologies. One difficulty is to explain that it might take time to convert these new technologies into operational services. On the other side, it also takes time to the moderators and scientists to understand users’ needs. If the Living Lab wants to keep its users on the long run, users shall not been seen as guinea pigs. Users should benefit of some return from their contribution to the experiments, such as for example a privileged access to some information and tools during an agreed period of time. As far as possible, it is worthwhile to identify areas where some quick returns can be achieved, even if it is outside the initially planned topics.

The role of one or several public research laboratories is crucial in the process of building a territorial Living Lab devoted to the development of the use of remote sensing. Scientists are seen by the actors as bringing scientific knowledge and moreover as neutral partners, with no commercial or political interest. It is the responsibility of the scientists not to disappoint this opinion. Research laboratories as well as the other actors shall also clearly define their interest and clarify the limits of their action. For example, laboratories can drive demonstration projects, but they shall not operate operational services in order not to compete with private companies.

When working on a given territory, whatever its size is, interactions with local policy makers are common. Policy makers can play a positive role since they have the legitimacy to encourage innovation policies, they bear projects, and they can mobilize networks and actors more easily than a laboratory. However, the time of policy is not the one of research, and priorities or local positions may change. In order not to depend too much on policy hazards, and to stabilize the process, laboratories must have their own scientific strategy.

Before starting to contribute to a Living Lab, laboratories will be in a better position if they already have knowledge, data and scientific results over a pre-existing experimental area, built for scientific purposes. Furthermore, partnerships established with some actors will be an asset. This way, laboratories limit their dependency to external factors and in the same time they already have materials which can be used to start the Living Lab.

The drawback of this approach is that it is a long term investment. Establishing something similar to the OSR takes several years, without speaking of the needs to motivate research teams on the long run.

In the time frame of the project, we did not succeed in developing in Catalonia a Living Lab focused on space applications which could have been similar to the one which exists in the Midi-Pyrenees Region with the PATS. One reason is probably that the development of SDIs is already well advanced in Catalonia, with communities of actors which already have much to do with conventional data. We also think that several factors hampered the developments of a Territorial Living Lab devoted to space applications in Catalonia:

- To our knowledge, no research and technological institution in Catalonia has established a collaboration with local actors as is done by the OSR for several years.
- The lack in the partnership of a company like Aida which specializes in territorial development and has a several years practice of work with research laboratories and public and private bodies. In addition, the company should have a long term strategy and must accept to invest time for a low revenue.
- The selected region was too different from that in Midi-Pyrenees, in particular because of the little weight of agriculture in its economy, which made it difficult to transpose the experience gained by OSR. Future collaboration of this kind should carefully look for a region to which OSR experience could be more relevant.

However, several actors in Catalonia have the willing to develop something similar to the OSR. French and Catalonian partners intend to build together a proposal which could be submitted to FP7 or Interreg calls. In addition, the RITA project had an unexpected side effect. Following common meetings gathering local policy makers and entrepreneurs, the Comarca de la Selva has established a Living Lab called “Food Lab La Selva”, devoted to the “Excellència alimentària”.

According to our experience, the private companies are the most difficult actors to involve in a Living Lab, especially if one of the objectives is to build cluster of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) for developing collaborations and for sharing expertises and tools.

It is feasible, while not always easy, to engage a single company to develop a prototype service once the needs, the market and the funding lines are identified. It is more difficult to involve several companies in a collaborative project and to make them adopt an open innovation approach. There are several restraints to that, such as limited investment capacity, intellectual property issues, competition, or risk of partner failure. Working on an increased participation of SMEs is one of our objectives for the coming years, with the idea that services should be provided by companies which operate in the same economic sector than their users.

One of our projects is to promote a cluster of SMEs in order to work on SDIs and Web mapping tools. From the beginning of the PATS project, we set the objective to establish a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) which will be managed by the local authorities. This SDI is seen as an essential way to structure and make durable the Living Lab approach and to favour the use of Earth observation data by facilitating the combination of remote sensing products with other types of data. This SDI would allow to capitalize and to share the collected data and to provide information to the various stakeholders. The RITA project revealed that remote sensing products are very seldom available on the existing SDIs, even though SDIs are a way to increase the wide spreading of remote sensing products. RITA also showed that two major features are required if one wants to move from display of images to real decision support systems. First, SDI should not only provide information from the servers towards the users, but would be more efficient if the architecture and the software allowed users to upload data on the server and interact with applications. Second, a variety of client interfaces are needed to fit specific requirements, even if the servers accessed are the same.

3.6 Conclusions

The concept of experimental territory is an original form for running a Living Lab. We started from the assumption that innovation is fostered by the proximity between research laboratories, training institutions, economic actors, policy makers, public sector organizations and users. These actors are willing to experiment services derived from space technology and to contribute to express specifications. The strategy followed by RITA relied on the development of pilot projects implementing a dynamic of co-construction of needs and products or services with users groups.

Work is still in progress, and many aspects have still to be explored. We hope that the lessons learned from the project will allow to disseminate the concept to other European regions and to build a European network of territorial Living Labs devoted to the development of uses and services based on Earth observation data. We think that this would be a significant contribution to the GMES programme of the EU.


The RITA project has received funding from the European Community's Seven's Framework Programme (FP7) under grant agreement number 205827 (Region of Knowledge). The activities described in this report have also been funded by CNES, CNRS, INSU, the Midi-Pyrénées Regional Council, the Communautés de Communes de Lomagne Gersoise and several ministries of the French government.

3.7 References

Genoud, P., and A. Schweizer (2009), Living Lab e-Inclusion - Exclusion et e-Exclusion : analyses, méthodes et outils pour maîtriser le changement et promouvoir l’innovation sociale et technologique. Rapport de pré-étude. Académie suisse des sciences techniques. Septembre 2009.

Haklay, Muki., (1999) : From environmental information systems to environmental informatics: evolution and meaning. Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (UCL), London, UK. ISSN: 1467-1298

Garcia Almirall, P., Moix Bergadà, M., Queraltó Ros, P., and M. Craglia 2008 :The Socio-Economic Impact of theSpatial Data Infrastructure of Catalonia, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, EUR 23300 EN -2008.

P. Almirall, M. Bergadà, P. Ros, and M. Craglia. The socio-economic impact of the spatial data infrastructure of Catalonia. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports EUR 23300 EN-2008, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, 2008.

M. Craglia and M. Campagna (Editors) (2009): Advanced Regional Spatial Data Infrastructures in Europe. EUR 23716 EN – 2009. European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability -

European Commission, 2011. Green Paper - From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding, COM(2011) 48, February 2011

Living Labs Roadmap Work Group : Living Labs Roadmap 2007-2010 - Recommendations on networked systems for open user-driven research, development and innovation on behalf of the living labs portfolio leadership group on behalf of the corelabs project

CoreLabs, Living Labs Roadmap 2007-2010, “Recommendations on Networked Systems for Open User-Driven Research”, Development and Innovation, in Open Document. 2007, Lulea University of Technology, Centrum for Distance Spanning Technology: Lulea, 1-61.

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Innovation policy: updating the Union's approach in the context of the Lisbon strategy /* COM/2003/0112 final */

Communication to the Spring European Council - Working together for growth and jobs - A new start for the Lisbon Strategy - Communication from President Barroso in agreement with Vice-President Verheugen {SEC(2005) 192} {SEC(2005) 193} /* COM/2005/0024 final */

European Commission, 2010. Advancing and applying Living Lab methodologies An update on Living Labs for user-driven open innovation in the ICT domain. J U LY 2 0 1 0, Directorate-General for the Information Society and Media Unit F4 — New Infrastructure Paradigms and Experimental Facilities. Publications Office of the European Union, 2010 ISBN 978-92-79-14873-6

European Commission, 2008 Living Labs for user driven open innovation — An overview of the Living Labs — Methodology, activities and achievements, January 2009. Directorate-General for the Information Society and Media Unit F4 — New Infrastructure Paradigms and Experimental Facilities. Publications Office of the European Union, 2009. ISBN 978-92-79-10358-2

Altec, 2009 : Study on the potential of the Living Labs approach Including its relation to experimental facilities for future Internet related technologies FINAL REPORT Version #1.1 dated 9th March 2009. Directorate-General for the Information Society and Media Unit Directorate F “Emerging Technologies and Infrastructures” F4 — New Infrastructure Paradigms and Experimental Facilities. Publications Office of the European Union

3.8 Useful links




Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association (GSDI)

Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES)

INSPIRE Directive

Observatoire Spatial Régional (OSR)

Pays Portes de Gascogne (PPG)

Communauté de Communes de la Lomagne Gersoise (CCLG)

Europe Innova

European Cluster Observatory

Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)


French Urban Plan : Plan local d’Urbanisme

Consell Comarcal de la Selva& Living Lab

La comarca de la Selva participa com a convidada d’honor al premi “Living- Labs Global Showcases Award”

Food Lab La Selva

Potential Impact:


RITA project results were presented during small group meetings, professional seminars and scientific conferences.

A feedback workshop was held at CESBIO September 16, 2010. Besides the participation of project partners, we hosted 42 people representing actors of space and environment sectors in the Midi-Pyrenees region. The Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales was represented at the sub-director level and the Aerospace cluster and the Foundation for Scientific Cooperation STAE (Science and Technology for Aeronautics and Space) at the directors level. Professor Alain Viau, Laval University in Quebec has been kind to actively participate in this meeting. The discussion between participants was lively and the unanimous opinion of the day was a rich return for participants. Presentations from the day are available on the project site:

The RITA project and its results were presented at the conferences Toulouse Space Show (Toulouse 2008), "Data flow from the space to Earth: Implementation and Interoperability" Venice, Italy, 21-23 March 2011, with publication in the proceedings, and on various occasions such as a French-Israeli-workshop held in Sde Bocker in January 2012, or at the seminar " Space based Services for the Environment (SSE)" organized by STAE foundation that led to a white paper. Among the five research priorities identified by this paper, the second is to "Encourage researches on the actors and users of the environment and develop the practice of "living laboratories" to co-construct in a harmonious way SSE". This result proves that the Living Lab approach can have impact on the research agendas of the scientific community, which was one of our assumptions when we started the project.

The RITA project and its results were also presented in meetings with organizations such as the European Space Agency, the Institute Cartogràfic de Catalunya and the Catalan Ministry of Agriculture. Many discussions were also held with the President of NEREUS.

In 2012, RITA will be presented at the conference "Sentinel-2 Preparatory Symposium" of the ESA, the Toulouse Space Show and the 32nd EARSeL Symposium.

Besides its academic impact on the evolution of ideas and research agendas, the RITA project has impacts in two strongly connected sectors: innovation for economic development and territorial development.

4.1 Innovation

Following numerous discussions with executives of the Aerospace Valley cluster, CESBIO and Aida were asked to accompany the cluster in the assembly of an Interreg 4C project. This project, called GILDA (for Geospatial Innovation for Land Development Applications) combined several European partners, including the laboratory of the CSIC (Spain) already partner of RITA and the Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya with which relationships had been forged. The box below provides a summary of the Gilda project. Unfortunately, this project has not even been assessed following an administrative problem of admissibility. But this is only a postponement. This example shows, however, that the ideas of a modest project as RITA can spread quite rapidly at the regional and even European level.

Summary of GILDA

The GILDA project is based on the following statements: Presently remote sensing is an increasingly important source of data flows developing the information society via numerous applications. At the same time, such information is recognized as strategic in many areas, such as resources and environment management. The development of geospatial information services is expected to lead to an important market in the near future and is fostered by the European policy (GMES and INSPIRE) in the sector. Despite their wide potential for applications, satellite data are still surprisingly underused and the growth of the market is slower than expected. Possible reasons are that so far the approaches have been too much of the top-down type and that the important needs of regional stakeholders were not sufficiently recognized. This situation invites the partner regions to play an active role in developing the economic sector of remote sensing and geospatial information services.

The GILDA project gathers 12 partners from 8 regions of 7 EU countries wanting to exchange good practices in this field and sharing the common vision that regional policies shall play a key role to develop the value chain through a bottom-up approach of innovation implying regional developers, industry and research. The choice of partners reflects this triple helix triangle. All the partners are involved in the promotion of innovation and are highly connected with regional policy authorities including cartographic and geodesic institutes functionally attached as executive branches of the authorities. The partnership as a whole is well experienced in remote sensing and in geospatial information applications and are strongly motivated to develop this kind of application in the service of citizens. Many of them are members of NEREUS which supports the project communication and ensures sustainability of the approach beyond the project life.

The crucial objectives of GILDA are to identify, organize the needs and competences of the interregional end-users and to develop methodologies to increase the use of tools and geospatial services with the overall goal to influence positively innovative regional policies.

GILDA impacts economic development and support of user-driven innovations in geospatial applications involve products and services related to the complete value chain of (pre)processing, management and diffusion of satellite data, integrated platforms and the ‘thematic’ services for end-users. The project is based on the exchanges of good practices by using an especially tailored working process resulting in a general applicable methodology to boost the development of geospatial applications. Next eight light pilot actions are realized to validate the feasibility and efficiency of the methodology and to allow customizing it at regional level. This leads to an optimized good practice guide and the specific recommendations for regional implementation plans.

Two other projects were more successful. The first one, called SATERRE, is an exploratory project funded by CNES. Its aim is to use Earth observation satellite data for mapping indicators of land quality. The involvement of actors relies on the Territorial Living Lab approach, which is used not only to defining what indicators are to be built, but also to solve issues regarding the confidentiality and share of the retrieved information. In short, the quality of a land is one of the factors that determine its price and as such a very sensitive topic for the farmers. But in the same time, mapping the quality of land is important for various issues in land planning. The second project, called DEMETER, is funded by the Midi-Pyrenees regional Council. Its aims are to develop a web based service which connects an agricultural information platform used by the farmers to a SDI which provides satellite products. The focus here is more on the technical issues, from yield sensors onboard combine harvesters to web services delivered either on desktops or smartphones. This project benefits of the SDI requirements elaborated by RITA.

Four other projects have been submitted which explicitly employ the Living Lab approach to develop the co-constructions of services with the actors and users. In addition, these projects rely on satellite data and SDI/web-GIS. The largest project, called DECIDAIE, aims at building a platform of services for the agricultural sectors. This several millions euros project has been submitted to the call “Plateforme mutualisées d’innovation (innovation shared platforms)” issued by the French government. The Living Lab approach will be used to define the services devoted to different agricultural sectors and test their acceptability. Two smaller projects have been submitted to the French Ministry of Environment (topic: environment and land planning) and to the ADEME (Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Energie, French Environment and Energy Management Agency, topic: intermediate crops and greenhouse gases), respectively. Finally, CESBIO is involved with two French local organizations in an Interreg SUDOE proposal entitled “social and effective uses of the biomass of prunings (BIOMAS project)”.

A more transverse activity is devoted to the development of software modules that will enhance the capabilities of existing SDIs. In particular, CESBIO is working with CETE, a technical competence center of the ministry of Environment, CNES and an intermediate size company, C-S, to implement geospatial information processing functions on the SDI server side and to develop the appropriate client interfaces. The aim is to develop open source softwares that will facilitate a wider use of satellite information. This activity is funded mainly by CNES, and benefits of the results of RITA regarding the specification of such a system.

Lastly, the RITA project resulted in the creation of a small company called E2L (Espace et Living Lab) in fall 2011. E2L is a cooperative company established in Toulouse which aims is the development of services based on the use of satellite observation data. E2L ambition is to serve as an interface between research laboratories, service companies, public and private actors. The methodology is based on the setting up of Territorial Living Labs.

4.2 Territorial development

In the frame of RITA, several meeting have been organized which allowed local elected officials and technicians of several French (Pays Portes de Gascogne, Communauté de Communes de la Lomagne Gersoises) and Catalan local communities (Consell Comarca de la Selva) to meet. These meetings lead to the signature of a collaboration agreement entitled « Réseau Inter territorial européen de territoires d’expérimentation pour les applications des technologies spatiales » ( Inter-territorial network of experimentation territories for the applications of space technologies).

In this agreement, the parties committed to establish the foundations for long term cooperation between their territories around the common goal of developing the concept of territory for experimentation, especially for applications of space technologies (Earth observation, positioning, telecommunications), with the aim of creating a dynamic of innovation and economic dynamism in their territories.

In practice, a meeting of the French and Catalan economic actors, accompanied by the development staff of the local communities was held in Catalonia. This resulted in several ideas of cooperation between entrepreneurs. As we already mentioned, one impact of RITA is the spreading of the concept of Territorial Living Lab within the partners. A practical result is the setting up by the Consell Comarca de la Selva of the Living Lab called “Food Lab La Selva”, devoted to the “Excellència alimentària”.

The Pays Portes de Gascogne is now developing the Centre Pédagogique de Fleurance (Educational Center of Fleurance). The full name of this center is Centre Pédagogique et de Ressources des Sciences de la Terre et du Développement Durable (Education's and Resources' Center of Earth Sciences and Sustainable Development). Its aim is to increase awareness, inform and educate both the general public and the professionals on the issues of environment and sustainable development. This center builds upon a successful experience of a center devoted to astronomy and on the PATS context.

RITA has other impacts for the Pays Portes de Gascogne. For instance, thanks to the connection between CESBIO, Aida and the PATS a small company of the territory is now connected to the space and agriculture communities in the Region. This SME is now a regular partner of CESBIO in several projects supported for instance by CNES and the Region. Also, the Pays Portes de Gascogne will start soon developing its own SDI, focusing in a first time on tourism and land planning.

4.3 The future

The concept of experimental territory is an original form for running a Living Lab. Until now, it has been developed in collaboration with rather small territories. New projects are running on these territories. However, the concept has now to be evaluated at larger scales. We are already working to build experiments at regional scales, the focus being always on geospatial information. But clearly the most important challenge for us is now to build a European network of experimental territories based on the Living Lab approach of the innovation process. This was the purpose of the aborted Gilda project, but new opportunities will appear. The experience of RITA provides a strong basis to develop such an ambition.

List of Websites:

Address of the project public website:


CESBIO - DCT/SI/CB bpi2801
18, avenue Edouard Belin
31401 Toulouse Cedex 9
Tel.: (33) 5 61 55 85 26

Bernard Thumerel
84 rue des fontaines
31300 Toulouse
Tel. (33) 5 62 48 90 31