Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - ECO-IMAGINE (European conferences and forum for integrated coastal management and geo-information research)

ECO-IMAGINE ( consisted of a series of 8 chained scientific events under the EU Marie Curie programme. They were conferences and training courses and were organised twice a year from 2004 to 2007 by a European partnership (see below). The locations were in Spain (Sevilla), Portugal (Lisbon/Estoril), France (Nice), Italy (Genoa, 3 events), Ireland (Cork) and Scotland (Aberdeen). The general address of the project was geo-information research and integrated coastal zone management, two themes that were approached in their complementarity and were structured in four specific strands led by representatives of the project scientific committee. The strands were individuated because they are able to express and synthesize crucial issues of coastal knowledge and planning/management: Building coastal knowledge, Coastal governance, planning and design, Waterfront management, Geo-spatial technologies.

ECO-IMAGINE has been promoted by two Associations addressing respectively geo-information and GIS (GISIG, Geographical Information Systems International Group) and coastal management (ICCOPS, Landscape, Natural and Cultural Heritage Observatory). The first concept of the project was in the ICAM-GI Thematic Network also linked with "GI-CLAN-Geo-Information and Coastal Landscape", the SDIC (Spatial data interest community) launched by ICCOPS and GISIG within the Inspire framework.

The other partner convenors of the events were the University of Seville, the USIG-Portuguese Association of Geo-Information Users, the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, the University College of Cork and the University of Aberdeen.

An important chaining element between the various events is the project website, able to support the creation of a project community and hosting both the information for participation and the proceedings and all the archive of the organised events. Summing up the contributions given during the whole initiative, about 230 speeches were delivered, 60 GIS projects were presented by the attending researchers and 110 posters were exposed.

The Marie Curie funding has allowed in the four years of project life-span to assign 306 Marie Curie grants to attend the events, both for young and more experienced researchers, helping in this way to implement a real ECO-IMAGINE Community that is intended to live also after the project end. At this regard and to capitalise the achieved results, new initiatives have been also proposed during the life span of the project, some of them already approved and started, such as the Leonardo da Vinci II project Vesta-GIS, a European network for vocational training in which a thematic sub-network "coastal management and landscape" has been established.

As far as the actual programmes of the events are concerned, all of them have programmed a presentation of the local cases (dedicated sessions and field trips) as well as exercises and work-group activities, to make more concrete the work done and to stimulate a real involvement of the attending researchers. At this specific regard the aforesaid project and poster presentations by the researchers were organised, to promote their work, to allow the diffusion within the colleagues of their research activity and possibly to suggest forms of mutual collaboration.

An important role was played by the sessions dedicated to illustrate the European policies in this field, e.g. the running process for the implementation of the INSPIRE Directive. Not to mention of course the core constituted by traditional technical sessions dedicated to present the state-of-the-art of science and GI technology (a project strand and a training course were specifically dedicated to it).

Finally is worth to remind the room assigned, especially in the last events, to webgis technology that is now a consolidated and fast spreading technology. The efficacy and cheapness of the results that can be obtained by it is of great relevance as it is great its impact to communicate the decision making process in participatory planning, an issue of big and increasing importance.

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