Last Thursday I was in Valencia at the BDVA Summit 2016. Florin Serban (BDVA/Terrasigna) had organised a session on big data and space which proved very popular. It was standing room only as we presented our views on how access to EO data, and particularly that coming from Copernicus, will change in the next few years.

ESA (Gunther Landgraf), DG GROW (Martina Sindelar), DG-RTD (Gilles Ollier) and I each gave presentations on our perspective for future actions linked to the development of EO exploitation platforms and links to Copernicus. I presented the MAEOS study we are conducting into an EO Services Marketplace and we had some discussions around how to link together all the various initiatives.

What really struck me is how much progress has been made to align all these efforts. It is as if a strategy is evolving bottom-up! - just the opposite if how it is supposed to develop. We see common elements coming into each of our perspectives including a basic 3 tier model for the overall picture and a much more detailed 5 tier model which describes the supply chain and now also recognises the research use of the data and information (see my presentation from the BDVA summit).

Mostly, this is being driven by the EC willingness to invest in the new Data and Information Service (DIAS) for Copernicus. We have argued for some years that action is needed to open-up the data for industrial use at the European level and to avoid that this became the privilege of a few Member States; DIAS will hopefully achieve this.

The intention to launch an ITT has now been announced on EMITS (the ESA tender system) and an information day has been set for 20th December in Frascati. We had considered to hold a second event the same day to consult on the MAEOS study findings but after discussion consider that it will be better to prepare more carefully for the event we plan at the end of the study in late January. More news on this in due course.

But I am delighted to see the common picture emerging and being used by all parties from each of their own perspectives. Emmanuel Mondon is also playing an important role by acting as the sort of mediator; gathering information from all sources and discussing with each party how their work is fitting into the big picture. I still refer to it as the jigsaw puzzle but I am now becoming much more hopeful that the pieces can be put together logically to form a complete picture and not stay randomly distributed on the table as has been the case for so long.

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