The objective of the EGIDA project was to promote the activities of the GEO intergovernmental initiative (Group on Earth Observation) by stimulating the involvement of an increasing number of stakeholders and users of scientific and technological communities (research centers, national and international agencies, companies) in accessing and supplying data and information through the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), as well as in the implementation activities of GEO/ GEOSS. This action was carried out mainly towards developing countries and towards those countries that have joined the European Union more recently (with specific activities related to the Balkan area and the Mediterranean). Currently, GEO includes as members 101 Governments plus the European Commission and 95 International Organizations (Participating Organizations) working in the field of Earth Observation. The whole GEO Community works in synergy to create and operate GEOSS. GEOSS interconnects the Earth observation resources shared at a global level and across the multiple areas of social interest that characterize the action of GEO (Sustainability of Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Resilience to Disasters, Energy and Mineral Resources Management, Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, Infrastructure and Transportation Management, Public Health Monitoring, Sustainable Urban Development, Water Resources Management) and makes these resources usable to allow a more informed decision making in politics.
EGIDA has promoted the GEOSS mission through a wider implementation and consequent improvement of the effectiveness of the GEO Science & Technology Roadmap, consisting in the networking of national and European projects and international initiatives (the GEO Science & Technology Roadmap is the plan of the activities programmed in GEO to promote GEO in scientific communities and actively involve them in the related activities).
As a result, EGIDA produced evaluation and test processes, verification indexes, databases, the GEO Label concept for assessing the quality of data published by GEOSS, questionnaires and other useful tools to facilitate a sustainable contribution to GEOSS by the scientific and technological communities at national and regional level.
Fasi del Progetto
EGIDA has combined bottom-up and top-down approaches; the first represented by the initiatives and projects financed at local and regional level, and the latter defined by GEO, in particular with reference to the Roadmap introduced by the GEOSS Committee for Science and Technology. This approach aims at the sustainability of GEO/ GEOSS, an initiative based on the voluntary contribution of participants, through the alignment to its objectives by data sharing initiatives funded at national or regional level. To this purpose EGIDA has foreseen a first phase of coordination and support explicitly dedicated to the two macro-objectives of the GEO Science & Technology Roadmap: a) promoting GEO in the scientific and technological communities; b) involving the scientific and technological communities in the development of GEO. Subsequently the results of the first phase, and more generally the experience of the project, were consolidated in the development of a general methodology for re-engineering national and regional infrastructures for a sustainable contribution to GEOSS: the EGIDA Methodology. This methodology has been tested in specific use-cases.
The two main results achieved by EGIDA are:
a) the EGIDA Methodology, which consolidates the overall activity of the project;
b) the creation of a network of stakeholders (Science & Technology Stakeholder Network).
The project produced a general methodology (EGIDA Methodology) to allow national scientific and technological communities to re-engineer their data infrastructures in order to facilitate their integration and interoperability to provide a sustainable contribution to GEOSS. The EGIDA Methodology is based on good practices deriving from previous international experience, gathered in guidelines and related to actions useful for the re-engineering of data infrastructures.
The EGIDA Methodology has been successfully applied in five significant use-cases at national, regional and global levels:
1) "Hot-spot pollution in the Mediterranean" (coordinated by CNR - Institute on Atmospheric Pollution): re-engineering of the data infrastructure of the Knowseas project (Knowledge-based Sustainable Management for Europe's Seas), funded by FP7;
2) "Mediterranean region" (coordinated by ISPRA – Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale): re-engineering of data sharing activities in the context of regional initiatives (UNEP-MAP/ InfoRAC, ENPI/ South - SEIS/ Shared Environmental Information System);
3) "Air Quality for Health" (coordinated by NILU - Norsk institutt for luftforskning): preparatory activity for sharing air quality data in a network of European projects;
4) "Slovenia" (coordinated by Institute Jozef Stefan): preparatory activity for the sharing of environmental data in Slovenia, with a focus on natural and man-made risks in the Soča (Isonzo) River Basin;
5) "GEO-Spain" (coordinated by CREAF - Centro de investigacion ecologica y aplicaciones forestales): re-engineering of the activities of the national GEO group in Spain.
The project created the stakeholders’ networks (Science & Technology Stakeholder Network) that still supports the development of GEOSS. At the end of the project (December 2012) the stakeholdres’ network of EGIDA became the GEOSS Science & Technology Stakeholder Network, with the aim of facilitating the scientific and technological research necessary for the further development of GEOSS and the use of Earth observation data, as well as promoting GEOSS in the same communities. Among the main activities carried out, the GEOSS Science & Technology Stakeholder Network organizes an annual general workshop (in its fourth edition in 2015; http://www.gstss.org/2015_Norfolk_4th/) whose results are then communicated to the Boards and the GEO working groups.