The aim of the GMOSS network of excellence is to integrate Europe's civil security research so as to acquire and nourish the autonomous knowledge and expertise base Europe needs if it is to develop and maintain an effective capacity for global monitoring using satellite earth observation.
The science and technology encompassed within the Network includes:
- the generic methods, algorithms and software needed for the automatic interpretation and visualization of imagery including feature recognition, change detection and visualisation;
- the specific science and technology needed to provide: a. effective monitoring of international treaties protecting against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; b. better estimates of static and dynamic populations on a global scale; c. better monitoring of infrastructure and borders; d. rapid remote assessments of damage;
- investigations of present and future threats to security and the needs for exchange of information between stakeholders during crises; GMOSS will run for four years and initially consists of 25 organisations from the public and private sectors. The joint programme of research will aim to meet the priorities of users from the civil security sector.
Ensuring effective global satellite monitoring
A European network has developed tools for monitoring security and stability in different areas, from population changes and border regions to rapid assessments of damage following disasters. These tools showed that exchange of information among the stakeholders during crises was of paramount importance.
The 'Global monitoring for security and stability' (GMOSS) network of excellence was created to bring together Europe's civil security research to develop satellite Earth observation. GMOSS used test cases, workshops, benchmarking and staff exchanges to maintain its capacity for global monitoring.
The network of 22 partners and 11 associate members took four years to develop satellite observation technologies and practices covering diverse scenarios, including nuclear non-proliferation treaties, static and dynamic populations, border regions as well as rapid remote assessments of damage in an area.
The multidisciplinary nature of the network was put to good use in the test cases of GMOSS. It successfully put together political, social and economic aspects which contributed greatly to background information in the test cases.
Because of the variety of network partners, different software packages, techniques and algorithms were being used. As a result, it was decided to benchmark all of these activities late in the project to consolidate working procedures.
Part of the success of GMOSS was down to the workshops and conferences that were organised. These meetings were instrumental in bringing together the network partners and were an opportunity to propose new activities. They were an occasion to launch common operations and implement near real-time exercises (called GNEX). Some of the meetings were opened up to external parties who were possible end-users of the product.
GNEX exercises created challenging real-time simulations where teams had to respond in a matter of hours or days. They were set up in a way that no network partner could handle a scenario on its own, thereby strengthening coordination and cooperation. GNEX enabled teams to analyse state of the art satellite images and enhance the delivery of civil crisis response. These exercises aimed to demonstrate to users and decision makers the added value of Earth observation by using GMOSS methods.
A gender working group in GMOSS addressed institutional gender issues linked to security and highlighted the importance of a work-life balance.
Training sessions became a popular forum for attracting a number of institutions involved in policy analysis, science and technology and service providers to apply to become associated partners of the project. The training events, such as GNEX, summer schools and seminars also provided a platform to exchange ideas within the network.