Education & training
Education and training is a key part of ESA's chartered mandate, with individual Directorates performing a wide range of activities within this area, co-ordinated by the ESA Education Office.
It is an activity of particular importance within Earth observation: potential users need to learn about the technique's many applications in order to know how it can assist them. In addition, users require practical instruction in how to interpret satellite imagery.
The good news is that all it takes to begin your education in Earth observation is an interest in the subject and an Internet connection. A thorough grounding in the subject is available from Eduspace, a multilingual website for education devoted to Earth observation, hosted by ESRIN, ESA's centre for Earth observation in Frascati, Italy.
Routinely employed by thousands of secondary schools across Europe and the world, Eduspace was developed as an educational resource for ESA and its national partners by Eurisy, a Paris-based association devoted to increasing awareness of how investment in space brings benefits for the individual citizen.
Eduspace includes a guide to the principles of Earth observation and showcases all its major applications. Users can download free software so they can follow online tutorials and perform data processing on sample images.
ESA's Kids site
Younger people interested in Earth observation can begin their education in a fun way at ESA's Kids site. It includes puzzles, quizzes and animated comic strips alongside especially written articles. The site features a dedicated 'Earth' section covering topics such as protecting nature and climate change.
The Agency offers direct training to young nationals from its member states and co-operating countries, with recent graduates able to apply for a one-year placement within the Earth Observation Directorate as part of ESA's young-graduate trainee scheme. Unpaid six-month training periods are also available to students nearing the end of their studies.
'Training the trainers'
ESA also actively promotes education and training activities in the field of Earth observation, including training courses, summer schools and educational presentations, often in conjunction with events run by partner institutions such as national space agencies or the United Nations.
In particular, ESA participates in a programme managed by the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs in Vienna, training professionals from the developing world in advanced Earth observation techniques. With the help of the training group at ESRIN that works to develop training tools, the students work to develop academic courses on Earth observation in order to teach others in their home country.