GMES, the Second Flagship Actuelles de l'Ifri, The Europe & Space Series, No. 3, March 2011
The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Program is often overshadowed by what is perceived to be the flagship program of European space, Galileo. As a matter of fact, GMES is just as important and faces many similar challenges.
The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative, launched in 1998 the European Commission (EC), ESA and national space agencies, is often over-shadowed by what is perceived to be the flagship program of European space, Galileo. As a matter of fact, GMES is just as important, and faces many similar challenges.
The launch of GMES was motivated by comparable strategic goals. First, it will increase Europe’s autonomy, by providing independent access to space data and enabling independent decision-making (GMES will deliver information in six areas: Land, Marine, Atmosphere, Emergency Response, Security and Climate Change). Second, it will strengthen the EU contribution to global knowledge on climate change, as GMES will be the European contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). Last but not least, GMES is expected to provide major societal and economic benefits to the EU citizens, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy.
However, unlike Galileo, GMES is more than a space infrastructure. It is conceived as a system of systems, combining existing and future Earth Observation (EO) satellites, airborne sensors and ground stations to provide comprehensive and unified EO data “to better manage the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security”. GMES will rely on three components: Space, In-Situ and Services. As such, GMES is a user oriented project, aiming at responding to user communities’ needs.