I participated yesterday to the Geospatial World Forum 2014 pre-conference session on "Geospatial Industry forging ties with GEOSS: A Value Proposition. It proved to be a useful forum with around 50 persons in attendance largely from the GEO community (secretariat and executive) and the EO services industry (data suppliers and value added). There was a good representation from around the world which led to an excellent discussion on the question of how GEO will engage with industry.

EARSC has been active for several years in saying that there needs to be a dialogue between GEO and industry  - in fact we first wrote to GEO saying this in 2005 - so we welcome the fact that the GEO stakeholders have now agreed that the GEO secretariat should develop this engagement. It seems obvious that in a sector where there is such an overlap between the public and private sectors that an organisation with the global mandate to encourage a GEOSS through co-ordinated actions must take into account what the private sector can offer. We see this as a two-way process whereby GEOSS can benefit by including private offerings and the private EO service companies can benefit increased exposure of their products and services. But more importantly society can benefit through improved organisation of the supply of EO services leading to economic and societal benefits.

The audience were mostly in line with this proposition. A number of questions emerged such as the role of licences in distributing the data, how to engage with the large number of SME's (through an association like EARSC), how to resolve offers from the private sector and public sector organisations and most importantly what role exactly should GEO play in this; from discoverability of data through to directly offering data. My presentation talked more about the role which we believe that GEO can play.

Over the next few months we shall seek to deepen the understanding and to find some very specific actions from which to build a co-operation. Yesterday was a good start towards establishing a framework for this effort.



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