• 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 customers. 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: "" Contact: Dr. Alan Belward, Scientific Assistant to the Director, SAI EC Joint Research Centre JRC 21020 Ispra (VA) Italy tel: 0039 332 789298 or extension ...9765 fax: 0039 332 789536 email
  • Space Applications Institute, Joint Research Center, European Union