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Supporting aWareness and Information dissemination activities for GMES Fast Track Services

Final Report Summary - SWIFT (Supporting aWareness and Information dissemination activities for GMES Fast Track Services)

Project context and objectives:

The European Earth monitoring programme Global monitoring for the environment and security (GMES) is one of the two 'flagship' programmes of the European Union (EU) and is a key component of the European space strategy. Nevertheless, this major initiative has been suffering from a lack of awareness among citizens and policy makers for several years. This situation has been partly caused by the fact that the complexity of the programme made difficult to find an efficient way to communicate on it.

Indeed the programme covers a wide variety of domains such as (not exhaustive) air quality, soil moisture, pollution, urban planning, marine environment or emergency response. It combines very diverse systems and technologies such as remote sensing from earth observation satellites or networks of in-situ sensors (e.g. buoys). Last but not least, it involves many different public (European and national institutions) and private (large space companies and Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)) organisations.

All put together, the above characteristics make the programme difficult to understand by both the general public and decision makers.

The decision in 2008 to move from Research and development (R&D) to (pre)operational services and to launch a series of GMES projects responsible for the implementation of pre-operational services addressing land monitoring (GEOLAND2 project), marine monitoring (MYOCEAN project), atmosphere monitoring (MACC project), emergency response (SAFER project) and security (G-MOSAIC project) respectively, created more favourable conditions for the promotion of the GMES initiative among policy makers and EU citizens simultaneously.

Indeed, the perspective to see tangible GMES products and services available to users in preoperational versions within a reasonable timeframe (a few months) made communication easier, by making possible to communicate on expected benefits rather than on scientific or technical concepts.

In this context, the European Commission (EC) launched on 1 June 2008 a Coordination and Support Action called SWIFT with the overall objective to support the dissemination activities undertaken by the above-mentioned projects and to support the EC for the promotion of the GMES programme as a whole. SWIFT completed its activities on 31 December 2011.

Project results:

A wide range of dissemination activities was performed by SWIFT during the 3.5-year duration of the project. These activities and the corresponding achievements are described hereafter.

Web dissemination
During the first months of the project, the former version of the website (please see http://www.gmes.info online), inherited from the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) Specific Support Action GENACS project was updated continuously with news published every week, GMES-related events promoted regularly, new documents uploaded in the library, new project forms created in the database of GMES-related R&D projects, new webpages presenting the programme, etc.

In parallel, SWIFT prepared the roll-out of a completely re-designed version of the http://www.gmes.info website (new structure, new content, new layout). After a validation phase with the EC and the GMES project coordinators, the new version of the website was successfully made available online on 4 June 2009. In order to ensure a seamless transition, SWIFT also provided the EC with text proposals and appropriate link information in order to ensure a full consistence between http://www.gmes.info and the institutional GMES portal on the Europa website.

Since June 2009, the new website has been updated continuously until the end of the project, as illustrated by the following figures: 600+ news items published, 240+ events promoted, 250+ projects recorded in the database.

In addition to the frequent updates mentioned above, the website has been continuously updated in order to reflect the progress and achievements of the GMES programme. This has sometimes required a complete restructuring of some parts of the website. For instance, whereas the initial version of the new website was focussing on promoting 'projects', the emergence of online GMES services developed by the projects led SWIFT to split the projects-related pages into two separate sections: a section still dedicated to the description of the GMES projects and a service-oriented section providing direct access to online services.

New sections have also been created from scratch when appropriate. For instance, although SWIFT was initially conceived to support the five main GMES projects, the project team also decided to promote the numerous 'downstream projects' funded by the EC. In this perspective, a new section entirely dedicated to these projects was created on the website.

The website also contains some additional features such as a repository of GMES-related documents (several hundreds of thousands downloads recorded on the website), a repository of GMES-related newsletters issued by different sources (European Space Agency (ESA), projects), a database of GMES projects (more than 250 projects registered in the database), a shared agenda identifying the participation of the GMES projects in specific events (conferences, exhibitions).

With an average of almost 14 000 visitors per month over 2011 and a total number of approximately 560 000 visits since the beginning of SWIFT, http://www.gmes.info has become the central portal of access to GMES-related information.

Promotion of GMES projects' achievements
The first promotional actions carried out for the benefits of the GMES projects (GEOLAND2, MYOCEAN, MACC, SAFER and G-MOSAIC) consisted in announcing on http://www.gmes.info their participation in the GMES forum held in Lille in September 2008. This was achieved notably through the creation of dedicated web pages. These pages were drafted in collaboration with the EC and with the project coordinators of the concerned projects. As a direct continuation of this activity, the 'fiches' produced by the GMES projects at the occasion of the GMES forum were collected, re-designed in order to comply with the GMES graphical charter established by the GMES bureau, and made available online.

From that moment, all the major achievements of the GMES projects were promoted systematically by SWIFT. For instance, numerous news items were published on http://www.gmes.info in order to promote the availability of new services or products (e.g. release of the baseline version of the spatial data infrastructure developed by GEOLAND2), to promote specific achievements (e.g. contribution of MACC to the provision of scientific data with regards to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, numerous activations of the SAFER project in response to natural disasters) or to promote important projects' milestones (e.g. joint LIMES / SAFER / G-MOSAIC workshop).

Specific webpages were also created in order to illustrate the concrete products provided by the pre-operational emergency response service when it was activated. These pages were updated in 'rush mode' at each activation in order to describe the disaster, explain how GMES supported users and to provide examples of rapid mapping products delivered to users (disaster extent maps, damage assessment maps, etc.).

Another aspect consisted in producing specific webpages on http://www.gmes.info in order to describe the online products and services developed by the projects and to provide a direct access to them.

Harmonisation of GMES service portfolio documents
SWIFT worked on the harmonisation of the documents presenting service portfolios produced by the GMES projects. This task was performed with the objective to make these documents immediately recognisable as 'GMES documents' (by applying the GMES graphical charter) and easier to read and to understand by potential users of the services (by opting for a common structure and way of presenting data). This activity resulted into the production of five harmonised portfolios made publicly available through http://www.gmes.info. Further updates of these documents were made when required.

Leaflets
A leaflet entitled 'Space for a safer world' has been produced with the objective to promote the space-related R&D activities funded by the EC in the domains of civil protection and security. 2300 copies of the leaflet were produced. Numerous copies were distributed at the occasion of the 'Space and security' conference organised in March 2010 in Madrid under the Spanish Presidency of the EU and at the LIMES workshop held in Rome in May 2010. The others were delivered to the REA, to the GMES bureau and to the SAFER and G-MOSAIC projects.

Another leaflet entitled 'Adapting to climate change' was also printed and delivered to the EC services.

Roll-ups
SWIFT produced a first series of roll-ups addressing land monitoring, marine environment monitoring, atmosphere monitoring, emergency management and security. Two identical roll-ups were produced for each domain. These roll-ups were delivered to the REA (one copy of each) and to the projects (roll-up on land monitoring to GEOLAND2, etc.) so that they have at their disposal promotional materials presenting their activity.

These roll-ups were used for the first time at the occasion of the Toulouse Space Show (8-11 June 2010). At a later stage, two additional roll-ups were designed and produced in order to address climate change and cooperation with Africa. These roll-ups were delivered to the GMES bureau.

Posters
In parallel to the work carried out in collaboration with the GMES projects for the production of roll-ups, SWIFT has worked on the production of posters presenting the GMES services. These posters were delivered to the GMES bureau (electronic version in high resolution ready for printing).