Side Events

Special Keynote:
“Animals as intelligent global sensing network”

Monday, May 11, 17:30 – 18:00, Room Berlin (C01)

This special keynote will be delivered by Prof. Martin 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.


Special Session:
“Group on Earth Observations (GEO): The next Decade”

Tuesday, May 12, 12:30 – 14:00, Room Ann Arbor (A08)

This special session is organized to discuss the priority issues for the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the strategies needed to address them.

With a vision to enable sound decision-making across socio-economic sectors with the use of globally coordinated Earth observation, GEO is developing a strategy that recognizes the interactions among Earth’s natural systems and the interdependencies among the socio-economic sectors.

GEO is seeking input from the communities of scientists and other earth observation users on the optimal approaches for assessing the status and forecasting information about the Earth systems and the interplay among them. The results of this discussion will inform GEO’s new Strategic Plan, which will be adopted at the GEO Ministerial Summit in November 2015.

Since 2005, GEO has been bringing together different communities in the domain of Earth observation – scientists, practitioners, data, information and service providers and users, – whose collective action has been advancing the implementation of GEO’s vision, including the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). Input from these constituents will be key for the viability and success of GEO’s strategy.


12:30 – 12:40 GEO’s post-2015 Strategic Plan: A strategy to serve society’s needs
Barbara Ryan, Director of the GEO Secretariat
12:40 – 13:00 Keynote: “A nexus approach to global challenges and the role of Earth observations”
Wolfram Mauser, LMU Munich
13:00 – 13:55 Discussion
13:55 – 14:00 Summary and closure


Special Session:
“Comparative Research of Global Environmental Change via Remote Sensing (ABCC Program)”

Wednesday, 13 May, 11:00–17:30 / Room Buenos Aires (A06)


11:00 – 12:30 Closed-door Meeting
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 –15:30 Scientific Presentation

  • Global Human Settlement changes from Landsat data records of the last 40 years: review of the preliminary results, Martino Pesaresi, JRC
  • Methodology and its application study of forest height inversion based on TomoSAR, LI Xinwu, RADI, China
  • NOx emission estimates from space, Ronald van der A, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
  • A Consistent Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) Dataset by Integration of Several AOD Products and Uncertainties Analysis, XUE Yong, RADI, China
  • Monitoring global land cover using Landsat data, Peter Potapov, University of Maryland, USA
  • The Progress on Earth Observation in Germany , Christiane Schmullius, Chair, Department for Earth Observation, Germany
15:30 – 16:00 Break
16:00 – 17:30
  • Update on the GEO Climate and Global Change , André Obregón, GEO Secretariat
  • Snow Monitoring using Earth Observations over Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, QIU Yubao, RADI, China
  • Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX) Program and Climate Change , Hanna Lappalainen ,University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Large Area Monitoring of Snow Cover based on long term Time Series,  Andreas DIET, Earth Observation Center, DLR
  • Long-term EO monitoring of the Sahelian drylands,
  • Rasmus Fensholt, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Spatial  temporal dynamics of carbon and water  fluxes in global rangelands, ZHANG Li ,RADI ,China
17:30 End of Meeting


Side Event:
„BlackBridge Lunch – Present Performance and Outstanding Future”

Wednesday 13 May – 12:45 – 14:00 – , Park Inn Hotel, Alexanderplatz 7, 10178 Berlin, Germany, 2nd Floor // Salon Virchow. Lunch will be served


Special Session:
“EO and Africa: A joint Europe – Africa Perspective”

Wednesday 13 May – 12:30 – 14:00 – room Ann Arbor (A08), lunch will be served

The objective of this side event is to present and discuss the benefits, the current status and perspectives of the cooperation between Europe and Africa on Earth Observation.

Key speakers from the European Commission and the African Union Commission will present the political context and current status of this cooperation, as well as the perspective for the coming years. The benefits of this cooperation will be illustrated through presentations of on-going activities and projects by representatives of African regional institutions. An open discussion will follow these presentations.


The cooperation between Europe and Africa on Earth observation started many years ago, through various national and regional projects. A study conducted in 2010 by the European Space Policy Institute (1) and entitle “European-African Partnership in Satellite Applications for Sustainable Development” presents a mapping of various projects and stakeholders involved in this cooperation.

Since 2002, the European Union, through the European Development Fund, supported several projects (PUMA, AMESD, MESA (2)) aiming at continuously strengthening capacities of African regional and national institution for accessing, processing and exploiting existing Earth Observation satellite data, and for building operational services to support regional and national environmental policies.

The benefit of this cooperation on Space was fully recognised at political level during the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon in 2007and included in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. At the same time, the “GMES & Africa” was launched as a flagship initiative on the cooperation on Earth Observation.


  1. The joint EU – Africa Strategy and its EU – Africa Space dialogue (EU speaker, tbc)
  2. The African perspective : Africa Space Policy (Dr Martial De-Paul Ikounga, African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology – HRST)
  3. The GMES and Africa initiative (Mahama Ouedraogo, Director for HRST, African Union Commission)
  4. A concrete example : MESA project (Dr Abebe, Director Rural Economy and Agriculture Department, African Union Commission)
  5. A concrete example : GFCS and Africa (Dr Guleid Artan, Director of the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre)

(2) See . PUMA (Preparation for the Use of Meteosat in Africa), AMESD (African Monitoring of Environment for Sustainaible Development), MESA (Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa).


Special Session:
“Earth Observations Infrastructure for Satellite Data Access and Dissemination in Africa”

Wednesday, 13 May, 14:00–17:30 / Room Ann Arbor (A08)

This session will explore how a coordinated infrastructure for satellite data dissemination and access in Africa can be achieved through leveraging existing institutions, infrastructure, initiatives and international partnerships for the benefit of the continent. In a roundtable, key speakers from African and international governments, space agencies, space institutions and regional centers will share information on:

  • the existing open access data policies and data products;
  • current mechanism used for EO data access in Africa and challenges;
  • partnership on data access;
  • cooperation among space agencies and regional institutions;
  • and overview of future plans for data access in Africa.

Ample time for participants to engage with the speakers is allocated. The session report will inform the AfriGEOSS initiative in taking forward the coordinated infrastructure effort and will contribute towards the realization of the draft African Space Policy and Strategy.


14:00 Opening Remarks

  • GEO principles on open access, Barbara Ryan (Director, GEO Secretariat)
  • African space policy and strategy, Mr. Mahama Ouedraogo (Act. Director, Human Resources Science & Technology, African Union Commission)
  • AfriGEOSS initiative, Mr Mmboneni Moufhle (Deputy Director General, Department Science & Technology, South Africa)
14:15 Round Table Discussion: Current and future cooperation programmes with Africa

  • Mr. Philippe Brunet (Director Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries, European Commission)
  • Dr. Aurélie Sand (Scientific Director of the SEAS-OI Center, CNES)
  • Prof. Stefan Dech (Director, Earth Observation Center, DLR)
  • Mr Chu Ishida (JAXA)
  • Mr. Hanowski (Head of Earth Observation Ground Segment and Missions Operations Department, European Space Agency)
  • Dr. Vincent Gabaglio (International Relations Officer, EUMETSAT)
15:30 Tea Break
16:00 Round Table Discussion: Current and future programmes in Africa

  • Mr. Karim HOUARI (Director of international Cooperation, Algerian Space Agency)
  • Mr. Boufaou (Director General, AGRHYMET)
  • Dr. Anna Ama Browne Klutse (Manager, Remote Sensing, GIS and Climate Center, Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute)
  • Dr. Hussein O. Farah (Director General, RCMRD)
  • Dr. Jane Olwoch (Managing Director, Earth Observations South African Space Agency)
17h00 Way Forward
Invite on stage two speakers from each session to highlight key points from previous sessions that can be considered initial elements on cooperation arrangement for the AfriGEOSS initiative on strengthening African infrastructure capabilities for “Earth Observation Satellite data over Africa”.Session Moderators: Imraan Saloojee and Foster Mensah
Rapporteurs: Andiswa Mlisa and Giovanni Rum


Author Workshop:
“How to publish your Research in a Top Journal”

Thursday, 14 May, 11:00–12:30, Room Tromsoe (A03)

The workshop/seminar takes ca. 1.5 hours and is to reach out to early career scientists to tell them more about the publishing process, how to write papers for top journals (from a publisher and editor perspective), ethics and language.

Since the digital era emerged with the discovery of the internet, our daily lives changed tremendously. In the same respect, academic publishing is not what it used to be. Find out how publishing turned from a print business to a high-tech online community and how this affects your success as researcher. Attending this workshop will help researchers with:

  • Understanding academic publishing and the latest innovations
  • Preparing, writing and structuring your article
  • Getting to grips with publishing ethics and knowing your rights & responsibilities

Join the session for the new ins & outs and a lively discussion.
Speaker: Edward Van Lanen – Journal Publisher Elsevier


Special Session:
“Space-based Maritime Situational Awareness”

Thursday, 14 May, 12:30–14:00, Room Ann Arbor (A08)

Chair: Guy Thomas, Director C-SIGMA (

Space-based Maritime Situational Awareness (SB-MSA) – Provides Security, Saves Lives, Money, the Marine Environment and its Resources. The combination with EO data shows the non-cooperative as well as the small vessels.


12:30 – 13:00 C-SIGMA- Combining S-AIS data with Image Systems and Big Data for multiple uses; Guy Thomas
13:00 – 13:20 Maritime Safety and Security using Multisensor EO in Combination with AIS; Susanne Lehner
13:20 – 13:40 Maritime NRT Services from DLRs ground station in Neustrelitz; Egbert Schwarz
13:40 – 14:00 Maritime Safety in Ice Infested Waters; Des Power