Welcome to Geoff's Blog. Geoff Sawyer is the Secretary General of EARSC and this is where to find out more about his views - which are expressed on a personal basis. For those logged in, please feel free to leave comments at the bottom of the blog. I shall be happy to exchange on views and reactions would be very welcome!!

Women in Copernicus
Many will be following with deep anxiety the latest twist in the US after the untimely death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. During her time as a supreme court judge, she has done more than anyone to promote people’s rights and especially those of women. If Trump is successful with his nomination of a new judge before the election, the direction of travel for these rights looks to be set back for a generation. I write this following the most recent EARSC eocafe https://earsc.…
A Lack of User Awareness
I am convinced that one of the biggest hindrances to the uptake of geo-information comes from barriers within organisations. Often, we hear it described as “lack of user awareness” – which it is – but it goes deeper than that and requires considerable effort, time and patience to solve. Overcome these barriers, and the potential for the uptake of EO services becomes enormous. But how to tackle this problem is less obvious.…
Business Models
I have been writing these last few weeks about promoting the value in Earth Observation data, with the focus being on communicating the benefits to society at large and decision-makers. Underpinning this is another theme which I have talked about in the past which is about Capturing the Value. If you look at the value chain for communications satellites, the hardware represents about 1% with 99% of the revenue coming from downstream activities (services).…
Further Raising Awareness.
In my last blog https://earsc-portal.eu/display/GB/2020/07/27/Raising+awareness+of+Value, I raised the question of how we can ensure that our most senior decision-makers are aware of the value that EO can deliver? This theme has been picked up elsewhere and led to an interesting exchange on twitter, triggered by a blog post and tweet from Andrew Lavender of Pixalytics https://twitter.com/pixalytics/status/1289244708439379969.…
Raising awareness of Value
The recent announcement of cuts in the EU budget for the space programme discussed in my last blog, came at a critical time and indicates the pressure which EU leaders were under at the time. I expressed our disappointment at seeing a significant cut in the budget for Copernicus that amounted to nearly 20% from initial proposals (€6b down to €4.8b). It is likely that one of the new Sentinel missions will need to be cancelled or postponed. But, as leaders cut the space budget,…
The Next EU Budget
The meeting of the EU Council has proven a marathon affair extending into the 5th day of meetings – including 4 full nights. The agreement reached (see the council conclusions), https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/45109/210720-euco-final-conclusions-en.pdf despite the denial of the term by Mark Rutte the Netherlands prime minister, is certainly historic. For the first time, EU nations have agreed to pool debt to help out those most affected by the Covid-19 crisis.…
EARSC AGM
Our Annual Meeting took place last week on 18th June. My colleague delphinemiramont has written a short overview of the proceedings. It is our plan to establish a new blog over the summer where my (Geoff's blog) will move and sit alongside other blogs including a policy blog which will allow Delphine to write about relevant happenings in Brussels. Until that blogpage is ready, we'll introduce her blogs into my blog here. If you want any more information,…
New US Remote Sensing Act
Recently, I read with interest that the US Department of Commerce has published proposals https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/05/20/2020-10703/licensing-of-private-remote-sensing-space-systems for revision to the export limitations for EO satellites and data supplied by US companies. The original restrictions were part of the Landsat Remote Sensing Policy act published way back in 1992. This was revised in 2006 in part reflecting the Commercial Remote Sensing act of 2003.…
I was asked yesterday if I thought that the public sector is doing enough to promote innovation (in industry)? I was participating in a workshop (on-line of course) looking at the results of a survey into SME’s in the GI sector. The survey had been conducted by the JRC and the on-line workshop replaced the physical one which had been planned for early April. It was very enjoyable and left me regretting that we had not been able to meet and certainly have some really interesting discussions.…
Covid impact
I wrote previously about the Covid situation in Italy and some thoughts on how the situation might be brought back under control. Now one month later, many countries in Europe are starting to unwind slowly the confinement measure imposed – absolutely necessary in my view – to bring the pandemic under control. Some countries seem to have used the time to prepare for a test,…
Coronavirus Update
China today reports no new cases. How did they manage to gain control over the virus to this extent? I came across this interview which explains how it was done. Basically, it involves testing, testing and more testing as we have already heard but crucially, the first test is to take the temperature and any anomaly is immediately isolated. No home quarantine since the first group to get infected is the family. So,…
EARSC & Coronavirus 2
So, as of today, in Belgium, as in France and many other countries in Europe, we are now officially confined to our homes. The temptation to go out has been removed by closing bars, restaurants and most shops. Fortunately, it seems that we are still allowed to go to the park to walk our dog as long as we don’t meet and socialise with any of the other dog walkers doing the same thing. This has to be the right policy at the moment as the first priority must be to bring the epidemic under control.…
EARSC and Coronavirus
You have probably seen that the Belgian Federal government decided last night to take some stringent measures to prevent the development of the CoVid-19 virus in Belgium. These included the closure of all schools, cafe's and restaurants and the limited opening of shops up until 3rd April. The EC has also now decided that all staff should work from home and there will be no visitors.…
Europe's Space Programme
As we start the new decade, a number of topics are stimulating the discussions in the space community and in Brussels. One of the first events of each year is the space policy conference in Brussels; this years’ is the 12th. One word is dominating the sessions’: defence. I noted last year that this topic was rapidly rising up the European Union agenda. This year it is not just spoken but is also written into titles of sessions and the topics from many speakers.…
ESA Ministerial 2019
The ESA Council of Ministers meets this week in Seville to approve the programme plans of ESA and especially the budget allocations. EARSC has issued a statement http://earsc.org/library/ supporting the ESA proposals and especially those linked to Future EO, Copernicus 4.0, In-cubed+ and for Global Development Assistance. These are all very important for our sector. Studies have shown that for every €1 invested through ESA, a return of €3.8 is generated for the Member State. But for Copernicus,…

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