Last week members of the COBWEB Project team attended the GEO-X Plenary and Geneva Ministerial Summit event in Geneva, Switzerland. GEO, is the Group on Earth Observation, who have held annual plenary meetings since the organisation was established in 2005. GEO-X marked a particularly significant milestone with participants looking forward to the next 10 years of activity across GEO and GEOSS(the Global Earth Observation System of Systems) . COBWEB was therefore delighted to be invited to be part of the European Commission delegation at the GEO-X exhibition, and to be able to take up opportunities to give a Speakers Corner talk on the project, to speak at the Citizens’ Observatories side event, to speak at the AIP-6 Side Event, and to show posters at the OGC stand including both a poster and video which was shown in the European Commission Speakers Corner area.
Chris Higgins talks about COBWEB during the Citizens Observatories side event.
The project was well represented by members of the COBWEB team covering technical, organisational, stakeholder engagement and dissemination activities, which enabled very productive discussions and networking to take place throughout the week. COBWEB’s Architecture Implementation Pilot (AIP) -6 achievements in enabling single sign on access across the COBWEB access management federation triggered some great conversations for Andreas Matheus, Bart De Lathouwer and project coordinator Chris Higgins. This contribution to the wider GEO community was also acknowledged in a GEOSS showcase film shown as part of the Ministerial Summit.
COBWEB’s development and infrastructure was highlighted in Chris Higgins’ talk during the Citizens Observatories side event, with a particular call made to our fellow Observatories’ to discuss and collaborate around interoperability across the projects. Meanwhile our stakeholder engagement work to date, including collaborations with organisations such as Dyfi Woodlands, was the focus of our Speakers Corner talk by Jamie Williams.
Jamie Williams gives his Speakers Corner talk at GEO-X
Citizens Observatories emerged as a key consideration for future environmental policy making and the GEOSS representatives were keen to ensure interoperability and access to citizen science efforts in generating environmental data in the interests of local, regional and global efforts to ameliorate environmental impact. Citizens are key to the European Commission vision as articulated in HORIZON2020 and therefore the initial tranche of Citizen Observatory projects, of which COBWEB is one of five, are trailblazing the future shape of citizen involvement as stakeholder in environmental policy.
The COBWEB project was present at the European Commission exhibition area through a shared stand with all of the Citizens’ Observatories projects: COBWEB,Citi-Sense, WeSenseIt, Omniscientis, and Citclops. Three collaborative posters were created especially for this space, outlining all of the projects in more detail and highlighting areas of commonality across the projects. We were excited to meet GEO Plenary participants and fellow exhibitors throughout the week – with over 89 GEO member nations present this was a truly diverse group. However, the highlight of the exhibition was the visit to the stand on Friday 17th January byJanez Potočnik, the European Commissioner for the Environment. The image at the top of this article (taken by Stuart Wrigley from the WeSenseIt project) shows Nicola Osborne, from the COBWEB project team, explaining all five Citizens Observatories projects to the Commissioner.
For the team, the event also presented a wealth of opportunities to meet, learn from and exchange ideas with projects and organisations from across the world, and particularly to make connections to complementary activities funded by the European Union. It was a hugely useful week and we look forward to sharing more from the event, including our presentations, posters, and a brief video on the AIP-6 work showcased, over the following weeks.
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