Different Approaches taken with respect to Geo Information Sector in Europe and the Unites States
We are entering the adolescence of the information age.
It will be a period, which is marked by significant growth, change and maturity in the diversity of information, related services, and shall affect most areas of human activity
Of special interest to the space community is the emerging and fast growing geo-information market.
Geo-information is increasingly critical for management and decision making, such as environment monitoring in routine and crisis situations, transportation management, and commercial or recreational activities.
This study is a survey of existing and planned world-wide
geo-information products and services resulting in an assessment of the European situation with respect to the rest of the world.
Special attention will be given to comparing European activities to the situation in the USA.
This study report shows the different approaches taken with respect to the geo-information sector in Europe and the United States.
And in particular it highlights the importance and influence of NIMA in paving the ground for a true commercialisation of the EO industry.
Through facilitating the integration of EO data into new or already operational and commercial geo-information services NIMA is one of the most important players world-wide within the geo-information sector.
A similar player does not currently exist in Europe.
NIMA allocates a large part of its budget to the private sector, for acquisitions of technology, products and services.
The overall NIMA budget in 1998 was 1.5 billion dollars for a 9000 people Agency, with several millions dollars for industry.
That is a push without equivalent in Europe for geoinformation industries.
Thus with such strong policies as:
- the creation of NIMA and its impact on the products and services development as well as on standardisation
- the promotion of duality
the promotion of the smaller, faster, better, cheaper concepts of development
and a variety of other actions, the US are ensuring for themselves a global information dominance which not only covers the defense area but as efficiently put the US in the leadership role for the provision of new geo-information based services World Wide.
This is the challenge Europe has to face in the geo-information industry the coming years, and important elements for succeeding in preparing a competitive approach will be:
- increased co-operation between ESA and EC, in order to exploit duality
- the establishment of a network of geo-information expertise, for instance within the GMES framework.
- acceleration in preparation of the Earth Watch mission and follow on missions
- a de-fragmentation of European Value adding industry through Market Development programs
- the establishment of European geo-information standards
Only if these issues will be covered sufficiently the coming
5-10 years, Europe will be able to take up the challenge posed by the US within the geo-information industry.