Arctic workshop generates new ideas for space-based services

21 March 2012

How can space-based services contribute to the emerging challenges in the Arctic? This question was asked and discussed during the recent Space 4 Arctic workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark held on 12 March 2012.

The meeting was organised by ESA and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) under the auspices of the Agency’s Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) programme.

Close to 100 participants including decision-makers, users, academics and industry were asked to fill out questionnaires to provide input to help establish IAP activities in the Arctic region based specifically on user needs.

Responses have been positive, with a number of ideas and suggestions already submitted.

“Our main goal with this workshop was to generate new activities dedicated specifically to the Arctic region that can benefit from a holistic approach including space applications,” explained Tony Sephton, Head of Awareness Activities for the ESA IAP department.

“Based on the responses already received, our goal has been achieved.

Many challenges must be met in the region, but this also offers many opportunities.”

Polarstern
Polarstern off the coast of Greenland

Specific considerations need to be taken into account when dealing with the Arctic given the region’s extreme conditions, location and its sensitive environment.

During the conference, the importance of supporting the quality of life of people living in the Arctic was emphasised, as well as taking care to maintain a sustainable environment.

A total of 16 presentations were given during the workshop covering a wide range of potential activities including oil and gas exploration, shipping, fishing, search and rescue, telemedicine, tourism, space weather awareness, the legal framework, risk governance, and delivering information over low bandwidth connections.

Reactions from attendees indicate the importance of matching existing space capabilities with well-defined user requirements.

ESA’s IAP department encourages further input, not only from delegates to this workshop but to any user who has an interest in the Arctic region.

The questionnaire handed out at the workshop is available by clicking on the link in the column to the right, and can be emailed directly to tony.sephton@esa.int

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