Keynote Speakers

Prof. Volker Liebig

ESA Director of Earth Observation Programmes and Head of ESRIN

Prof. Volker Liebig Volker Liebig took up duty as Director of Earth Observation Programmes (D/EOP) and Head of ESRIN, ESA’s centre for Earth Observation near Rome, in October 2004.

Born in Lübbecke, Germany, Volker Liebig grew up in Munich. He studied geophysics at the University of Munich where he received a PhD.

Volker Liebig began his professional career in polar research and took part in the German Antarctic Expedition, Ganovex IV, where he investigated Earth’s geomagnetic field. After six years working in managerial positions in the space industry, in 1994 he joined the German Space Agency, DARA.

During his career with DARA he was Head of the Earth Observation Utilisation Programme and then appointed Head of Application Programmes where he was responsible for communications, navigation and Earth observation. In 2000, the Senate of the German Aerospace Centre, DLR, approved his appointment as the Programme Director of the German Space Programme.

In 1993 Volker Liebig became a member of ESA’s Programme Board for Earth Observation, a post he held until 1998. For four years he was also a member of the ESA Council as well as a member of the Space Advisory Group of the European Commission. In 1999 he commenced lecturing at the University of Stuttgart.

Dr. Barbara J. Ryan

Secretariat Director of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO)

Dr. Barbara J. Ryan

Barbara J. Ryan is Secretariat Director of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) located in Geneva, Switzerland.

In this capacity, she leads the Secretariat in coordinating the activities of 93 Member States and nearly 80 Participating Organizations who are striving to integrate Earth observations so that informed decisions can be made across nine important areas including agriculture, biodiversity, climate, ecosystems, energy, disasters, health, water and weather.

Before assuming this position in July 2012, she was the Director of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Space Programme where she had responsibility for the space-based component of the WMO Global Observing System (GOS).

Before joining WMO in October 2008, she was the Associate Director for Geography at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Reston, Virginia where she had responsibility for the Landsat, remote sensing, geography and civilian mapping programs of the agency. It was under her leadership that implementation of the Landsat data policy was reformed to release all data over the internet at no additional cost to the user — an action that has resulted in the release of more than 13 million Landsat scenes globally to date.

As the 2007 Chair of the international Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) she led the space-agency response to the Essential Climate Variables (ECVs).

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from the State University of New York at Cortland, a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Denver, and a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Stanford University. She was recently awarded on honorary Doctor of science degree from her alma mater, the State University of New York at Cortland.

Prof. GUO Huadong

Director-General of the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI)

Prof. GUO Huadong

Huadong Guo is Director-General of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), an Academician of CAS, and a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS). He presently serves as Past-President of the International Council for Science (ICSU): Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), Secretary-General of the International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE), and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Digital Earth (IJDE).

He has over 30 years of experience in remote sensing, specializing in radar for Earth observation and applications, and has been involved in research on digital Earth since the end of the last century. He has been Principle Investigator for over 20 major national projects/programs in China, and Principle Investigator for 7 international radar remote sensing projects. He also serves as Director of the International Center on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under the Auspices of UNESCO, and Director of the CAS-TWAS Center of Excellence on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation (SDIM).

He has published more than 400 papers and 16 books, and is the principal awardee of 13 national and CAS prizes, one being “National Outstanding Expert”, awarded by the State Council of China.

Shizuo Yamamoto

Executive Director, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Shizuo Yamamoto

Shizuo Yamamoto received the BS degrees in aeronautical engineering from Nagoya University in March 1977. He joined National Space Development Agency (NASDA), which was one of the former organizations of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), in April 1977. He was Section Chief of Data Processing Section, Earth Observation Center (EOC/NASDA) from 1982 to 1987 and was in charge of data processing of the US Landsat and the first Japanese Marine Observation Satellite (MOS-1).

Thereafter, Shizuo Yamamoto studied data processing technology of the optical sensing system at GFSC/NASA as a Visiting Fellow from March 1987 to March 1988.He was Senior Engineer, Earth Observation Program Management Department from 1995 to 1998 and was in charge of NASDA’s Program Manager of the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM), which was a cooperative project between Japan and NASA. He contributed to the success of TRMM program.

In 2007 Shizuo Yamamoto was appointed as Director of Systems Engineering Office and developed the R&D roadmap as the technological strategy in JAXA. Shizuo Yamamoto has been Executive Director of JAXA since 2013. He is responsible for all JAXA’s satellite projects of earth observation, communication, broad casting, and navigation. He also aims to create a new outcome for utilization of JAXA’s new satellites. He also aims to create a new outcome for utilization of JAXA’s new satellites. Especially, ALOS-2 was launched in May 2014 which has high-performance observation ability.

Alain Ratier

Director-General, EUMETSAT

Alain Ratier

Alain Ratier was appointed EUMETSAT’s fourth Director-General on 1 August 2011. His tenure so far has seen the launch of the third Meteosat Second Generation (MSG-3) and Metop-B satellites, the start of the development of the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) system and preparation of the next generation EUMETSAT Polar System Second Generation (EPS-SG) programme. Under his leadership, the role of EUMETSAT in the EC’s Copernicus programme has been recognised and the organisation prepared for the operation of the Sentinel-3 and Jason-3 ocean satellites. He has also overseen the expansion of EUMETSAT’s membership, with more Cooperating States becoming Member States.

Between 2004 and 2011, Mr Ratier was Deputy Director-General of Météo-France.

Mr Ratier already played a part in shaping EUMETSAT as Director of Programme Development and deputy to the Director-General between 1996 and 2004. During this time, he guided the development of the MSG and EUMETSAT Polar System programmes and EUMETSAT’s contribution to Jason-2. He also designed the process for establishing user requirements for future EUMETSAT programmes, starting with MTG, to ensure that programmes provide Member States with maximum value.

From 1987 to 1996 Mr Ratier was a Programme Manager and subsequently Associate Director for Earth Observation Programmes at the French Space Agency (CNES). There, he contributed to the expansion of the French Earth observation programme to include atmospheric, oceanographic and climate sciences and data assimilation.

Mr Ratier’s career began at Météo-France in 1983, where he spent five years in research and development activities modelling upper ocean and air-sea interactions.

Mr Ratier was awarded an engineering diploma from the French National School of Meteorology and also holds a degree in oceanography from Paris VI University, both received in 1983. He is a member of the French Marine Academy and the Academy of Aeronautics and Space.

Mr Ratier is married with three children.

Johann-Dietrich Wörner

Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Johann-Dietrich Wörner

Johann-Dietrich Wörner has been Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) since 1 March 2007. He was born in Kassel in 1954 and studied civil engineering at the Technische Universität Berlin and the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt, from where he graduated in 1985. In 1982, as part of his studies, he spent two years in Japan, investigating earthquake safety. Until 1990 Wörner worked for the consulting civil engineers König und Heunisch. In 1990 he returned to Darmstadt University, where he was appointed to a professorship in Civil Engineering and took over as Head of the Testing and Research Institute. Before being elected President of the Technische Universität Darmstadt in 1995, he held the position of Dean of the Civil Engineering Faculty.

Wörner has been honoured with a series of prizes and awards such as the Prize of the Organisation of Friends of the Technische Universität Darmstadt for ‘outstanding scientific performance’. He was also appointed to the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and is a representative of the Technical Sciences Section of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Wörner has received honorary doctorates from the State University New York (USA), the technical universities of Bucharest (Romania) and Mongolia, the Saint Petersburg University for Economics and Finance (Russia), and École Centrale Lyon (France). He has been honoured by the German state of Hesse and the French government.

Wörner is Vice President of the Helmholtz Association; he is also a member of various national and international supervisory bodies, advisory councils and committees. He was a member of the board of École Centrale Paris and École Centrale Lyon, the Convention for Technical Sciences (acatech) and the supervisory board of Röhm GmbH, to name just a few. Furthermore, he was appointed to the energy expert group of the German Government. He continues to be a member of the advisory boards of several universities such as the Technische Universität Berlin and the IST Lisboa.

Dr. Michael Freilich

Earth Science Division Director, Nasa

Dr. Michael Freilich

Michael H. Freilich is the Director of the Earth Science Division, in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. Prior to coming to NASA, he was a Professor and Associate Dean in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. He received BS degrees in Physics (Honors) and Chemistry from Haverford College in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Univ. of CA., San Diego) in 1982. From 1983-1991 he was a Member of the Technical Staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Dr. Freilich’s research focuses on the determination, validation, and geophysical analysis of ocean surface wind velocity measured by satellite-borne microwave radar and radiometer instruments. He has developed scatterometer and altimeter wind model functions, as well as innovative validation techniques for accurately quantifying the accuracy of spaceborne environmental measurements.

Dr. Freilich served as the NSCAT Project Scientist from 1983-1991 and as the Mission Principal Investigator for NSCAT from 1992-1997. Until he relinquished his project posts to join NASA HQ, he was the Mission PI for QuikSCAT (launched in June, 1999) and SeaWinds/ADEOS-2 (launched in December, 2002). He was the team leader of the NASA Ocean Vector Winds Science Team and is a member of the QuikSCAT, SeaWinds, and Terra/AMSR Validation Teams, as well as the NASDA (Japanese Space Agency) ADEOS-2 Science Team.

Dr. Freilich has served on many NASA, National Research Council (NRC), and research community advisory and steering groups, including the WOCE Science Steering Committee, the NASA EOS Science Executive Committee, the NRC Ocean Studies Board, and several NASA data system review committees. He chaired the NRC Committee on Earth Studies, and served on the NRC Space Studies Board and the Committee on NASA/NOAA Transition from Research to Operations.

His honors include the JPL Director’s Research Achievement Award (1988), the NASA Public Service Medal (1999), and the American Meteorological Society’s Verner E. Suomi Award (2004), as well as several NASA Group Achievement awards. Freilich was named a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2004.

Freilich’s non-scientific passions include nature photography and soccer refereeing at the youth, high school, and adult levels.

Prof. Matthew C. Hansen

Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland


Prof. Matthew Hansen is a remote sensing scientist with a research specialization in large area land cover and land use change mapping. His research is focused on developing improved algorithms, data inputs and thematic outputs which enable the mapping of land cover change at regional, continental and global scales. Such maps enable better informed approaches to natural resource management, including deforestation and biodiversity monitoring and can also be used by other scientists as inputs to carbon, climate and hydrological modeling studies. Prof. Hansen’s work as an Associate Team Member of NASA’s MODIS Land Science Team included the algorithmic development and product delivery of the MODIS Vegetation Continuous Field land cover layers. His current research includes taking the global processing model for MODIS and applying it to the Landsat archive. Exhausting mining of the Landsat archive has been used to map forest disturbance in the Congo Basin, Indonesia, European Russia, Mexico, Quebec and the United States. The methods developed in these efforts will be used to test global-scale disturbance mapping with Landsat data. Other current research efforts focus on improving global cropland monitoring capabilities, for example global soybean cultivated area estimation using MODIS, Landsat and RapidEye data sets.

Ryan Johnson

President & CEO, BlackBridge Group


Ryan Johnson is one of the founders of the BlackBridge corporation a company whose mandate it is to “Explore the Earth to Empower Decisions”. To support great decisions leveraging geospatial information the company is involved across entire geospatial value chain from operating earth observations satellites, to data management, to detailed value added services. Today the company does business in 100 countries and is involved in some of the world’s most important issues from food security, to protecting tropical rain forest to national defense. Ryan Johnson was recognized as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People. Under his leadership the company has received numerous awards for innovation and has showed continual growth for the last 10 years. Ryan holds both a bachelor and master degree in geography from the University of Lethbridge. His master’s thesis was recognized by the Canadian Aeronautic and Space Institute through the National Best Thesis Award.

Rolf Skatteboe

President & CEO, Kongsberg Satellite Services


Rolf Skatteboe is president/CEO of Kongsberg Satellite Services AS (KSAT). KSAT is a commercial Norwegian company, providing ground station and earth observation services using polar orbiting satellites. KSAT has more than 70 antenna installed at various locations around the globe. KSAT is the world leading provider of services related to satellite data reception and control as well as satellite based monitoring services with a special focus on Maritime situational awareness using SAR satellites.

Rolf has been with KSAT since the company was established in 2002, and before that he worked at the Norwegian Space Centre for than 10 years.

He holds MSc, Medical Physics and Biomedical engineering, Norwegian Institute of Technology, 1984 and a MSc, GeoPhysics, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, 1994 as well as several management courses at AFF, Norwegian University of Business and Economics.

Dr. Pascale Ultré-Guérard

Head of Earth Observation Program, Strategy and Programs Directorate, CNES


Pascale Ultré-Guérard has been Head of Earth Observation Program at the Strategy and Programs Directorate of CNES (French Space Agency) since January 2006. She is in charge of coordinating the Cnes space programs (satellites and balloons) related to Earth Observation for civilian research and applications domains. She represents CNES and/or France in several assemblies: CEOS (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites), GEO (Group on Earth Observation) co-delegate, ESA program board for Earth Observation (PB-EO) among others. Since 2011 she has been vice chair of ESA PB-EO and since 2014 she is CEOS SIT (Strategic Implementation Team) chair. She manages a team of 12 experts (specialized in oceanography, atmosphere, solid Earth, land surfaces, cryosphere, hydrology, disasters management, health, Copernicus…).

Before that she was Program manager in Solid Earth Sciences and managing several space programs and initiatives at national, European and international level in the field of Earth science and applications, in terms of space mission preparation and data exploitation for the user community. She was in charge of the missions dedicated to Solid Earth and Geodesy: OERSTED, CHAMP, SWARM, DEMETER, DORIS systems, Laser Stations. She was also in charge of the applications of the Earth Observation systems for the Solid Earth (including geohazards) studies in the French scientific community (SPOT, Pléiades HR, Interferometric Cartwheel, Envisat…). She was also secretary of the groups of scientific experts in charge of the evaluation of projects and research proposals submitted to CNES: the group dedicated to Solid Earth Sciences and, at a higher level, the group (TOSCA) covering all the scientific activities in the Earth Observation which advises the Earth Observation delegation for its scientific program definition.

Pascale Ultré-Guérard has a PhD in geomagnetic field modeling delivered by IPGP (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris). She has worked on the preparation of the OERSTED mission and has worked on the first OERSTED data before to join CNES.

Dr. Carolin Richter

Director, Global Climate Observing System Secretariat


Carolin RICHTER has been Director of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Secretariat since April 2009. Carolin has a Diploma and a PhD in Meteorology from the University of Hamburg, Germany. From 1990 to 1994, she was a researcher at the Institute of Meteorology, University of Hamburg, and then, until 1996, Research Fellow at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, United Kingdom. From October 1996 to January 1999, she was Junior Professional Officer with GCOS, WMO. She then joined the Deutscher Wetterdienst, first as Quality Manager and Expert, then as Head, Division Measurement Technology, Deputy Head, Department Observing Networks and Data. In 2005, Carolin was transferred to the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, where she served as Deputy Head, Division for Meteorology, Climate Monitoring and Earth Observation.

Prof. Alberto Moreira


Director of the Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Alberto Moreira is Director of the Microwaves and Radar Institute at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and a Full Professor with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, in the field of microwave remote sensing. His DLR’s Institute contributes to several scientific programs and projects for airborne and spaceborne SAR missions like TerraSAR‐X, TanDEM‐X, SAR‐Lupe and SAR‐Lupe follow‐on as well as Sentinel‐1, BIOMASS and Tandem‐L. The mission TanDEM‐X has successfully started the operational phase in December 2010 and is generating a global, high-resolution digital elevation model of the Earth with unprecedented accuracy. Prof. Moreira is the initiator and Principal Investigator for this mission. His professional interests and research areas encompass spaceborne radar end‐to‐end system design, analysis and operation, innovative microwave techniques and system concepts, signal processing, and remote sensing applications.

Prof. Moreira has authored or co‐authored more than 350 publications in international conferences and journals, 7 book chapters and is holder of 18 patents in the radar and antenna field. He is an IEEE fellow and has served as President of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) Administrative Committee in 2010. He is recipient of several international awards including the IEEE AESS Award for the Young Radar Engineer of the Year (1999), the IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Field Award (2007), IEEE W.R.G. Baker Award from the IEEE Board of Directors (2012), and the IEEE GRSS Distinguished Achievement Award (2014). Since 2012 he is serving as the Principal Investigator for the mission proposal Tandem-L as well as for the Helmholtz Alliance “Remote Sensing and Earth System Dynamics”, comprising of 18 research institutes and 30 associated international partners.

Dr. Keith Beckett


Chief Scientist at UrtheCast

Dr. Beckett is UrtheCast’s Chief Scientist. He is a leader in the areas of Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Computer-based Systems, Numerical Analysis and Methods, Image and Signal Processing, Remote Sensing using both Optical and SAR Sensors, Modeling and Simulation, and High-Performance Computing. Prior to joining UrtheCast, Keith worked at MDA as a Senior Systems and Project Engineer on the Earth Observation Business Division. Keith has close to 30 years of experience in the Earth Observation business.

As Chief Scientist at UrtheCast, Dr. Keith Beckett focuses on the vision, research and development of advanced Earth Observation image, video and application product offerings in order to meet UrtheCast customers’ current and future needs and challenges.

Keith works closely with UrtheCast’s Chief Technology Officer and Director of Research and Development to evaluate and set priorities, create long-term strategic plans, and then lead R&D projects in line with the objectives to position UrtheCast competitively.

Keith is actively seeking to establish broad collaborative relationships with academia, researchers, partners and customers. And, as UrtheCast’s Earth Observation data exploitation capabilities develop, the goal is to continue to secure this intellectual property through patents, and to share UrtheCast discoveries through publications and conferences.

Dr. Manfred Krischke


CloudEO AG, Co-Founder and CEO

Dr. Krischke is Co-Founder and CEO of CloudEO. He is responsible for the strategic direction of the company, for overseeing operations and for building the relationships that are essential to success.

In 2011 he led the consortium to buy the assets of RapidEye (5 satellites constellation) out of the insolvency and was interim CEO for the restructured company. He originally founded RapidEye in 1998 and was its CEO until 2004.

He was the Managing Director of Intermap GmbH and VP at Intermap Corp for six years – an innovative geospatial solutions company, traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, which employed at that time over 950 people worldwide. Dr. Krischke has been a Senior Advisor to Spacetec Capital Partners, a venture capital company specializing in early stage investment and consulting services for established hi-tech companies and governmental agencies. Before that he consulted several companies and spent 8 month at Guildford consulting Surrey Satellite Technologies. He started his career at Kayser-Threde GmbH, Munich (today OHB), where he was Business Development Manager for Navigation, Communication, Small Satellites and Manned Space Transportation.

He was awarded a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the Technical University of Munich. In 1991 he received the Wernher-von-Braun Award of the Deutsche Aerospace (today Airbus) for the best visionary diploma thesis in Germany, which he wrote during his studies at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge.

Chris Steenmans


Head of Programme at the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Chris Steenmans is Head of Programme at the European Environment Agency (EEA). He is responsible for the programming and strategic development of the EEA ICT and data management, in close cooperation with the European Environmental Information and Observation Network (EIONET).

He coordinates the EEA contributions to the European Earth observation programme (COPERNICUS), the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), the European Spatial Data Infrastructure (INSPIRE) and the European Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) and the UN Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM).

He graduated at the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) in 1981 as Msc Geoscience and was researcher at the Department of Cartography KUL until 1985. Before joining the EEA in 1997, he worked during 12 years in a number of private companies for providing remote sensing, data management, GIS and mapping services.

He has been actively involved in several international initiatives, including the European programme for Coordination of Information on the Environment (CORINE) for producing and providing access to European environmental datasets, the EU Programme of Community aid to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (PHARE) for the pre-accession strategy for the Central and Eastern European countries, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) for improving environmental monitoring, data and information sharing with South and East neighbours and the Russian Federation.

Prof. Dr. Cher-Hiang GOH


Director of Satellite and Airborne Radar Systems Laboratory, National University of Singapore

rof. Cher-Hiang GOH is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff of DSO National Laboratories. Since July 2013, he has been seconded to the National University of Singapore (NUS) as a Professor in the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department. In NUS, he is currently the director of the newly set-up Satellite and Airborne Radar Systems Laboratory. In addition, he is also the Project Director of the NUS Kent Ridge 1 micro-satellite program guiding a team of NUS staff to work with BST (Berlin Space Technologies) of Germany on the program. The Kent Ridge 1 micro-satellite has the primary mission of hyperspectral imaging.

Born in Singapore, he studied in Engineering in Germany under the Public Service Commission Overseas Merit Scholarship of Singapore Government and obtained his Diplom-Ingenieur (I and II) Degrees in 1983 and 1984 respectively from Universitaet-GH-Paderborn. He received his Doktor-Ingenieur from Ruhr Universitaet Bochum in 1993 under a Defence Technology Training Award (Ph.D) from Singapore Ministry of Defence. He was with DLR (Wessling) from 1991 to 1993 when he worked on his doctoral thesis in the area of control of flexible space structure.

Cher Hiang had been with DSO National Laboratories since 1984 and had held various positions such as Project Engineer, Team Leader, Research Head (Guidance and Control), Programme Manager, Head of Guidance & Control Laboratory etc. At DSO, he had worked on and led a number of projects in the area of Guidance and Control, Navigation and Unmanned Systems.

He had been instrumental in formulating the 1st Micro-satellite Project (X-Sat) of Singapore. In 2005, he was seconded from DSO to Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to lead a team of about 50 engineers to design, develop, manufacture, integrate and test the X-Sat micro-satellite. The micro-satellite had since been successfully launched by PSLV C-16 on the 20 April 2011. It is still operating in the orbit today surpassing its intended 3 years mission life. This experimental micro-satellite has the primary mission to perform electro-optical in South East Asia Region with a near real-time data downlink capability.

From July 2012 to July 2013, he took a year of Sabbatical Leave and was then a Distinguished Visiting Professor with the Naval Postgraduate School (Space Systems Academic Group) in USA. In September 2014, he chaired and guided the organization of the 1st Singapore Space Symposium bringing together overseas industry experts and Singapore space R&D community together to discuss and brainstorm on R&Ds relevant to meet Singapore Industry needs. He is a Member of Institute of Navigation, a Senior Member of IEEE, a Senior Member of AIAA and also a Committee Member of IEEE AES-GRSS (Singapore) Chapter. He is also the Co-Chair of the Asia Pacific Synthetic Aperture Radar Conference 2015.

Dr. David Thau


Dr. David Thau Dr. Dave Thau manages developer relations for Google Earth Engine and Google Earth Outreach, helping scientists, governmental agencies, NGOs, and other partners build software and algorithms that run on Google’s geo platforms, including Earth Engine, Google’s highly parallelized cloud computing image processing framework.

He joined Google in 2010, bringing with him 20 years of industry experience developing Internet-based applications. Dave has created and managed software development for award winning websites, written a best-selling computer science textbook that has been translated into nine languages and published scholarly papers in data management and Earth sciences. Dave holds degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a doctorate in computer science from the University of California, Davis.

Thomas Stocker

University of Bern, Switzerland

Moore Thomas Stocker was born in Zürich and obtained a PhD in Natural Sciences of ETH Zürich in 1987. He held research positions at University College London, McGill University (Montreal), Columbia University (New York) and University of Hawai’i (Honolulu). Since 1993 he is Professor of Climate and Environmental Physics at the University of Bern. His research encompasses the development of climate models of intermediate complexity, modelling past and future climate change, in particular abrupt climate change and its effects on the ocean, and the reconstruction of greenhouse gas concentrations based on ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica. This has resulted in the definitive CO2 and CH4 records of the past 800,000 years, still a world record.

Thomas Stocker has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers in the area of climate dynamics and paleoclimate modeling and reconstruction. After more than 10 years of service in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was elected Co-Chair of Working Group I of the IPCC in 2008. The comprehensive assessment report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis was approved by the governments on September 27, 2013. Thomas Stocker was awarded a Dr. Honoris Causa of the University of Versailles (France) in 2006 and the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2009. In 2012 he was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Prof. Stephen Briggs


Briggs Stephen is currently Senior Adviser in the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes, ESA, with responsibility for future EO strategy and advice on, particularly, relations to external bodies. He is, since 2014, Chairman of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Steering Committee. He has been involved in the development of GEO since its inception in 2003 and is currently Chair of the Global Forest Observations Initiative of GEO. He is also vice-Chair of the Strategic Implementation Team of CEOS, and is ad hominem Senior Adviser to the Chinese National Remote Sensing Programme.

Prior to his current role he has been (2010-2013) Head of the EO Programmes and Coordination Office of ESA, and (2000-2010) Head of the Department of Earth Observation Science, Applications & Future Technologies where he was responsible for the exploitation of ESA EO missions (for science, public sector, including Copernicus, and commercial applications), future EO technologies programme, studies relating to future missions and interface between ESA’s EO missions with user communities.

He is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading.

Prof. Martin Wikelski

Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology and University of Konstanz

Wikelski Martin Wikelski is Director at the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology based in Radolfzell, Germany, and Full Professor for Ornithology at the University of Konstanz. He has founded the ICARUS-Initiative aiming at installing a new global animal observation platform in space. His vision is to allow animals to be our eyes and ears in the world, a distributed intelligent sensor network aimed at monitoring the planet in unprecedented detail in situ.

Prof. Wikelski is Member of the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), visiting research scholar at Princeton University, research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Emerging Explorer at the National Geographic Society. Wikelski was assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL, and then assistant and associate professor at Princeton University. He is currently investigating global migratory pattern in animals with particular emphasis on disease spread and zoonoses. He authored and co-authored more than 230 scientific publications.

Dr. Kyriacos Themistocleous

Cyprus University of Technology

KyriacosDr. Kyriacos Themistocleous is the Head of the Remote Sensing and UAV unit of the Remote Sensing and Geo-Environment Research Group of the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Cyprus University of Technology, as well as the President of the Cyprus Remote Sensing Society. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber (ETEK). He received his Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees from the University of Louisiana, and University of Oklahoma, respectively. He received his Ph.D. from the Cyprus University of Technology in the field of Remote Sensing and GIS.

His research interests include aerial and satellite remote sensing, unmanned aerial vehicles, GIS, cultural heritage, spectroscopy, atmospheric correction, energy efficiency, life cycle cost, ground penetrating radar and environmental studies. He has over 150 publications in book chapters, peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings in the fields of remote sensing, atmospheric correction, UAV, cultural heritage, GIS, spectroscopy and environmental sciences. He has collaborated in over 25 national and European research projects both in Cyprus and abroad, including FP6, FP7, Eracobuild, LIFE, Research Promotion Foundation, MEDNET, Eureka, INTERREG, ERASMUS and others.

Dr. Gerd Gruppe

Member of the DLR Executive Board

GruppeSince 1 April 2011, Gerd Gruppe is Member of the DLR Executive Board, responsible for the German Space Administration. Born in 1952, he grew up near Aachen in the very Western part of Germany.

He received a degree in mining from RWTH Aachen University. Upon completion of an internship at the Bureau of Mines in Munich, he obtained a doctorate degree in Energy Marketing at Augsburg while continuing to pursue his career. He then transferred to the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology. Initially, he was responsible for promoting research and for technology transfer, and later had his first professional experience with space.

In the late 1980s he was involved in the establishment of the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) at DLR’s Oberpfaffenhofen site. Later, as Head of the Department of Research, Innovation and Technology at the same ministry, he greatly advanced the development of Bavaria as a location for space activities, particularly with his involvement in the Galileo Control Centre and the world-renowned Robotics and Mechatronics Center – both based at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen.

Philippe Brunet

Director “Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries”, European Commission

BrunetPhilippe Brunet was born in 1959 in Cahors (France).
Doctor in Medicine (MD) and Iuris Doctor in Community Law (LLD), he entered the Commission in 1988 (DG V – Social Affairs). He joined the DG III (Industry) in 1993 in order to prepare the establishment of the EMEA (European Medicines Evaluation Agency, now the EMA) and complete the legal framework of the EU authorisation scheme for medicinal products.

Philippe Brunet was appointed deputy Head of Unit “Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics Unit” in 1998, and subsequently Head of the Unit “Pharmaceuticals, legislative framework and market authorisations” in April 2000.

In November 2004 Philippe Brunet joined the Cabinet of Markos Kyprianou, the Commissioner responsible for Health and consumer affairs, as Deputy Head of Cabinet, Barroso I Commission. In October 2007 he was appointed Head of Cabinet by Commissioner Kyprianou.

Following the resignation of Mr Kyprianou to become Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus in February 2008 and his subsequent replacement by Mrs Androulla Vassiliou, Mr Brunet was appointed Head of Cabinet of Mrs Vassiliou as of March 2008.

On February 10, 2010, Ms Vassiliou took over the position of Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth in the Barroso II Commission. Ms Vassiliou re-appointed Mr Philippe Brunet as the Head of her new Cabinet.

The Commission appointed on 19th December 2012 him as Director in DG Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW) for Directorate “Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries” as of January 2013. Mr Brunet main institutional files comprise, inter alia, the implementation of COPERNICUS, a constellation of EU-satellites offering Earth Observation services on a full, open and free of charge basis, and the development of civil and military synergies in security and defence matters to render the defence industry competitive and underpin a credible and effective Common Security and Defence Policy.