WP2: Capacity building


Facilitate capacity building in environmental applications of earth observation for economic development

This work package facilitates capacity building on an individual level as well as on the level of society with a clear focus on (but not limited to) the regions covered in the project. It tries to fill the knowledge gap between the “inside” earth observation community mostly oriented towards science and the “outside” group of potential end-users that are mostly interested in practical and cost-effective solutions. Capacity building is required because the added value of earth observation products and services in environmental applications is not directly apparent, and products have had limited application in some regions, including less developed countries.

Task T2.1- Development of training material in environmental applications of Earth observation for economic development
The training material that will be developed will be application-oriented and directed at finding solutions in fields like disasters, health, energy, climate, water, weather, ecosystems, agriculture and biodiversity (see section 3.1 for a more detailed description).
In the GEONetCab project three groups of users were identified:

  1. Earth observation and engineering professionals
  2. Decision-makers, and
  3. Communities

In task T2.1 training material will be developed for end-users that want to upgrade and/or expand their existing knowledge and skills (1) and new target groups of potential end-users (2 & 3) that are not familiar yet with the possibilities of Earth observation in environmental applications.
Training material will be multi-level ranging from advanced state of the art material suitable for graduate coursework, through to material for the general public. We envision a common set of cases and examples, highlighting best practices derived from expertise across themes and regions.
For example, an advanced graduate course for mid-career professionals will be enhanced with relevant and up to date work from Earth observation theory, as well as key research results. At the other extreme, the training material will be simplified and made accessible to the general public in an interesting manner which is crisp and to the point.
In addition, the course material will be formatted and written into delivery mechanisms for the various target groups including university module(s), onsite training, school, general public. For example, the university module(s) will be an advanced course for graduate level students or senior undergraduates, and will be prepared in a distance education, a blended learning as well as in a traditional face to face ‘chalk and talk’ format. In contrast the training and capacity building for the general public could take the form of a short high quality documentary or for example be produced as a popular movie trailer.

Task T2.2- Formulate a conceptual framework for certification of courses in environmental applications of Earth observation for economic development
The demand for highly qualified individuals that are able to apply Earth observation techniques in environmental applications is rapidly growing. Employers are asking more and more for certification but official certification in the field of environmental applications of Earth observation for economic development does at this moment not exist. In addition, for many economic uses of EO data as defined by national or EU policy or legislation (such environmental impact assessment or data standards), certification of professional staff are required, similar
to other professional bodies such as chartered accountants or certified lawyers. Even though in this project
we do not propose a full certification scheme leading to a professional recognition, we develop a conceptual framework for coursework in environmental applications. In T2.2 we will try to close this gap and we develop a conceptual framework for certification of courses with the ultimate goal to set a de facto standard and to deliver specialists who have passed certified courses in environmental applications of Earth observation for economic development.

Task T2.3- Support the project regions in capacity building for environmental applications of Earth observation
As described in WP 5 - 12, there are 8 regions supported in EOPOWER, of which 4 have extensive experience with ITC through the GEONetCab project. The 8 regions each have unique gaps in requirements for developing environmental applications for EO (e.g. research and development budgets devoted to EO product development in the Balkans as described in section 1.1). In addition there are generic or common problems for most if
not all regions (e.g. broad geographical coverage, active in GEOSS, and wish to cooperate in the context
of EU projects). In this Task, a course will be developed for all 8 regions on capacity building concepts and implementation of environmental applications for EO. The course is didactically orientated around modern techniques in problem based learning with key examples from successful applications in the economic sector. Examples of best practice and successful product development will be highlighted. In addition the individual regions will provide examples of specific gaps and interesting solutions in environmental applications of EO focused on their region. From these individual cases the course will focus on common elements which can provide case studies and examples that may be implemented and used in other (or all) regions. In other
words, the course will highlight the differences between the regions, and allow course participants to discover similarities with their own region. This will encourage learning from each others’ experiences and expertise leading to the formulation of a general strategy for promoting environmental applications for EO. Finally the course will consider the previous work as performed by the 4 regions under GEONetCab, and specifically
the ”region specific reports”. From these reports the course on environmental application for EO focuses on
the participants extracting key lessons learnt and recommendations and from these linking to the solutions in environmental applications of EO focused on their region.
In addition the course as designed will be trialled and executed in the 8 regions to demonstrate the course and gain feedback to further improve the course content, delivery mechanisms and quality.

Task T2.4- Enhancement and promotion of the workshop “Bringing GEOSS into practice”
The enviroGRIDS hands-on workshop "Bringing GEOSS into practice" has been developed within the enviroGRIDS project and it aims at teaching participants how to install, configure and deploy a set of open source software to publish and share data and metadata through the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) using OGC web services and ISO standards. This workshop is registered in the GCI (GEOSS common infrastructure) and mentioned on the OGC Capacity Building page, and it has already been successfully given to more than 150 participants. However, the material of this workshop needs to be upgraded (notably with WPS, THREDDS, and WaterML components), packaged in an online portal to facilitate the regular update of its software components, and modified to better target the need of various stakeholders groups.
The aim of this task is also to identify and build capacity of institutions that could become recognized centres of competence for Spatial Data Infrastructure and GEOSS-related tools, and that could teach the workshop for their local and regional stakeholder groups. To that end, the workshop needs to be modified in a "train-the-trainer" fashion. There is also an acknowledged need for translating the workshop material in other languages. This is especially important in the eastern Black Sea and South Caucasus regions where teaching material in English is often a strong barrier for adoption and uptake of tools. This need will be assessed and solutions for translation will be sought in local partners.

After the update of the workshop material, two workshops will be organized and taught in the Black Sea and the South Caucasus regions.


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