The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme is based on a fleet of European Earth observation satellites, built and operated by ESA, member states and commercial entities. GMES will also offer data from non-European satellites.
In order to provide operational and sustainable user services and to avoid unnecessary duplication in technologies, the challenge is to harmonise the various approaches to the ground segments of the different satellites and to involve the users. To begin this harmonisation process, a Ground Segment Coordination Body (GSCB) was created to adopt a common, coordinated and cost-effective approach that responds to the needs of Earth observation users.
Although GSCB is not a standardisation body, this coordinated approach has made a significant contribution towards the definition of interoperability and interaccessibility standards. The Body has to cope with the challenge of different national programmes and of bringing together systems already in operation with others still in planning.
Various GSCB initiatives are being organised to foster the exchange of information among mission-developers in Europe and Canada, the most important being the HMA (Heterogeneous Mission Accessibility) study.
GSCB was established in June 2005 and is composed of member-state agencies managing EO data ground segments. In particular, GSCB shares the expertise in the development and operation of payload ground segments of missions such as:
Meteosat, MSG and MetOp by EUMETSAT;
TerraSAR-X, Rapid Eye, TanDEM, EnMAP and third-party missions handled by the German Aerospace Center (DLR);
Radarsat-1 and -2 by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA);
COSMO-Skymed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI);
Spot, Topex-Jason and Pleiades by the French Space Agency (CNES);
ERS-1 and -2, Envisat, Earth Explorer missions and third-party missions by the European Space Agency (ESA).
The group coordinates and shares its findings with other coordination and standardisation entities such as CEOS (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites), OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) and CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems), and it plans for regular consultation with industry and commercial missions.
The ‘Global Monitoring for Environment and Security’ (GMES) represents a concerted effort to bring data and information providers together with users, so they can better understand each other and make environmental and security-related information available to the people who need it through enhanced or new services.