The communities are also identified following the five main components of a “GMES Africa” infrastructure.
i. Observation infrastructure: The CEOS, which is working in close cooperation with GEO is certainly the most appropriate framework to discuss space infrastructure issues. The CEOS group includes most of the space agencies and space operators involved in Earth Observation, including the African ones (e.g. Nigeria, South Africa). Huge efforts have been already made by CEOS members to make links between “user needs” and “space technologies” that could answer theses needs for numerous thematic areas. Additionally CEOS maintain a database of space mission/instruments, which would be very relevant when addressing more concretely the need for space data expressed by the various thematic areas. For the in-situ infrastructure, some in-situ instruments operators are already organised into communities (e.g National Meteorological Services, Oceanographic Institutes…)
ii. Data acquisition and access: In terms of data acquisition (real-time and offline), generally user community can be created around the technology, which is used, as they will share common issues and exchange good practices. For example, the African users of GEONETCast would face similar issues when using their reception stations. Thus, independently to the thematic area, GEONETCast users would benefit having a structured user community to address relevant questions. The same could apply for GEO-portal users, or users of a specific satellites or instruments,
iii. Data storage and processing: Capacities for Earth Observation data processing exist in Africa. Several centres in various part of Africa do process everyday satellite data. The AARSE is certainly the largest existing platform involving most of the African Earth Observation processing entities (scientist, private user, public institutions, etc). User communities also exist in the various thematic areas. For example, the meteorological community, which is using satellite data in an operational way, is well structured and meets on a regular basis under WMO or EUMETSAT symposium and forum. As a generic “good practice”, data storage is organised by the data provider (not the user) to avoid duplication of work. The data provider should then obviously also organised the access to its archive in a user-friendly way.
iv. Data dissemination: Under this infrastructure element, the user community cannot be defined as such. Strong link with the more generic “ICT” community should however be maintained and strengthened in order to ensure that the requirements coming from GMES Africa in terms of ICT are duly considered when development an African ICT infrastructure. Processing entities and final users are two user communities interested directly by the data dissemination infrastructure.
v. Data utilization: The number of end-users of earth observation satellite is potentially so huge and from different background that it won’t be efficient to address all of them through a single channel (apart for generic information, c.f. the very useful; and pertinent EIS newsletter). However, it should be the responsibility of the data provider to maintain close link with their users in order to train them, to keep them informed on the latest development and, obviously, to collect their needs and feedback on existing products and services.
The GMES and Africa Infrastructure communities fall in the following class categories; Users, Producers and Disseminators
Table 1: Identification of Communities
For the space observing infrastructure: CEOS members and more particularly European and African Space Agencies..
For the in-situ observing infrastructure: African operator of in-situ measurement system (e.g National Meteorological Services, Oceanographic Centre, etc…)
Data Acquisition and Access
For the direct read-out infrastructure The same user community as the observing infrastructure.
For the real-time and for the off-line access to data, the same user community as for the “Service Infrastructure”
Service infrastructure “Data Storage and Processing”
Regional centres (ICPAC, RCMRD, AGHRYMET, SADC, RECTAS, etc…), Global. Continental, Regional and National Meteorological services, Private sector, both national and international, as a key supplier of investment, finance and technical services;
Earth Observation Laboratories in Universites and Research Institutes. Government ministries, private sector as well as productive and service sectors;
The telecommunications sector with vital interest in sectoral policy reform, investment and services. Continental initiatives such as, SDI-Africa, ,
EU and AU Commissions and the associated RECs, International and regional institutions involved in supporting NICI policy making process,
Independent regulatory bodies as implementers of policy directives and responsible for managing regulatory system; Continental initiatives such as, SDI-Africa, CEEPA, National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Networks,
CEEPA: Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa, Scientists, IT personnel and other professional bodies as providers of input on the technological, scientific and human-resource implications and requirements of NICI, Academic, training. research institutes and universities, Professional Associations, National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Networks,
Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa, International and multilateral agencies such as World Bank, OECD, UN Agencies, WMO GCOS, FAO, WFP, IUCN, WWF)
Planners, Decision Makers, Resource Managers and Environmentalists, Implementers of International Conventions and Agreements. The telecommunications sector with vital interest in sectoral policy reform, investment and services, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations
All users communities identified in the thematic chapter of the GMES-Africa Action Plan.