Space Applications Institute, Joint Research Center, European Union

Data Center Description
In 1996, the 'Institute for Remote Sensing Applications' (IRSA) became the
Space Applications Institute (SAI). This name change reflects a growing
concern with linking remote sensing applications to other space based tech-
nologies such as telecommunications and navigation systems. SAI is one of
7 institutes making up the European Commission`s Directorate General - Joint
Research Centre (JRC).
SAI`s objective is to develop techniques for derivation of relevant, timely
and accurate information on the state and evolution of Earth surface charac-
teristics from space systems. Biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere are all
considered in this context, with work ranging from fundamental research to
the operational use of remote sensing.
Fulfilling this objective involves:
- supporting the sectorial policies of the European Union in areas such
as agriculture, environment, aid to development and regional aid,
- supporting the European scientific and applications communities
in the utilisation of Earth observation satellite data, {complementing
the objectives of ESA, other European and national space agencies,
international scientific programmes and those of other institutions}, and
- performing research and support into the development of methods and
advanced techniques for the interpretation and application of satellite
derived data.
The collaborative and scientific work is described in various publications,
as in reports EUR 15953 EN (1993) and EUR 16227 EU (1994) of Joint Research
Centre / European Commission.
SAI contributes to the Framework Program line "Environment and Climate"
with its specific activities on the Centre for Earth Observation (CEO).
This project completed its "pathfinder phase" in 1995. Throughout that year
the project ran a number of studies and workshops aimed at defining a final
CEO concept and at establishing a design and implementation plan for the
coming years. This involved in-house research and consultation with present
and future Earth observation data users and service providers throughout the
European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). The CEO project
worked in close collaboration with a Pathfinder Phase steering committee,
consisting of experts from all EU and EEA countries, nominated by the Board
of Governors. The work was done in cooperation with European and global
partners, including the European Space Agency (ESA), EUMETSAT, the European
Environment Agency (EEA), the United States' NASA and National Oceanographic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Space Development
Agency (NASDA) of Japan. The concept includes the promotion of access to Earth
observation data and services to scientific, commercial and governmental
In 1996 the project entered its Design and Implementation phase. More complete
details on this major European Project can be found using URL:
Monitoring the state and evolution of terrestrial vegetation cover involves
the creation of vegetation maps, which indicate both land cover change and
functional vegetation parameters, such as seasonality or fire on a continental
and, ultimately, global scale.
For more updated information please access on Web with URL:
Dr. Alan Belward,
Scientific Assistant to the Director,
EC Joint Research Centre JRC
21020 Ispra (VA)
tel: 0039 332 789298 or extension ...9765
fax: 0039 332 789536