Space for Geo Information in the Netherlands by pengtt


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                                          Trendwatchers for innovation and technology


                    Space for Geo Information in
                    the Netherlands
2   Space for                                                                      Wubbo Ockels, was launched into space on board the Space
                                                                                   Shuttle Challenger. André Kuipers was later launched in the
    Geo Information                                                                Soyuz TMA-4 for a stay on board the International Space
                                                                                   Station. These missions, which included an extensive
    in the Netherlands                                                             package of experiments, gave the Netherlands a prominent
                                                                                   position in the space industry and raised many young
                         DEN HAAG - GERWIN WOELDERS                                persons’ interest in science and technology.
                 A D V I S O R I C T I N N O V AT I O N AT S E N T E R N O V E M
                                                                                         Figure 2: rainfall radar the
    Dutch history                                                                        Netherlands (photo: KNMI
    As far back as the sixteenth century was the Netherlands
    engaged in making spatial information both accessible                          Geospatial Intelligence
    and manageable; it was also occupied in the transfer of                        (GEOINT), 3D Virtua-
    that information. At that time the objective was to discover                   lisation and Remote
    the world by using a sextant and astronomy. Map-making                         Sensing are important
    focused on charting the world.                                                 terms       encountered
    The Netherlands was then one of the most prominent                             in this theme. One of
    suppliers of maps. Today, the Netherlands is still clearly                     the EU flagships for
    present in this world market. The advent of the satellite and                  the next few years is
    aviation has radically changed navigation and charting the                     Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES).
    Earth.                                                                         The emphasis in Earth observation is on visualisation and
                                                                                   interaction with the intention of solving environmental
                                                                                   and spatial issues. Al Gore’s film about climate change,
                                                                                   An Inconvenient Truth, has put the GMES theme more
                                                                                   specifically on the map. Earth observation is becoming
                                                                                   more and more common good. The KNMI’s rainfall radar (1)
                                                                                   warns Dutch people every 15 minutes whether they should
                                                                                   consider putting on their raincoat before going out.

                                                                                   At the close of 2004 the Dutch Government drew up a
                                                                                   Space Plan of Action (2). This plan set out the ambitions of
                                                                                   and charted the Dutch space sector. The Dutch standpoint
                                                                                   GMES (3) was drawn up at the end of 2004 in response to the
                                                                                   Baveno Manifesto. There are two themes in GMES which
                                                                                   are of particular importance for the Netherlands: water and
                                                                                   the atmosphere. Dutch policy on Earth observation for the
    Figure 1: Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographiva              years 2002 – 2010 was also formulated at the end of 2001.
    Tabula, A new Geography of the Entire Land of the World with a Hydro-          The GMES theme has wide support in the Netherlands.
    graphic Table”, Willem Janszoon Blaue, Amsterdam, approximately 1640

    The Dutch space sector is particularly varied: knowledge
    institutes and a considerable number of larger and smaller
    enterprises play a role in the international dimension. The                    The Dutch space and Earth observation sector
    sector itself has the support of several ministries and                        The Netherlands has a relatively large amount of knowledge
    intermediary organisations.                                                    and experience to offer in the field of cartography and
    A particular role played by the Netherlands is in the                          climate and environment monitoring. In the Netherlands
    research and development of instruments for monitoring                         the sector is structured in a number of categories: the
    the climate and the environment, and thanks to the strong                      knowledge infrastructure of research and educational
    scientific position and expertise in the field of optical                        institutes, the private sector, societal organisations and the
    instruments, Dutch players, such as the KNMI and RIVM                          public sector. The various categories are explained below.
    play a major role in atmospheric research in space such as
    ozone measurements.                                                            Knowledge infrastructure
    This was evident from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument                          The Netherlands has both private and public technological
    (OMI) on board the American satellite AURA. ESA’s European                     research and educational establishments. Dutch research
    Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) is located                        has an excellent international reputation; research in the
    in Noordwijk. This fact alone is an indication of the strong                   field of space travel is generally seen as separate from
    presence of the space industry in the Netherlands. On 30                       research into Earth observation, but there is quite clear
    October 1985 the first Dutch astronaut,                                         collaboration in themes such as GMES.

                                                                                   NOST - Space for Geo Information in The Netherlands - maart/april 2007
Research and Study Programmes                                  and furnishing innovative ideas in the European or interna-                3
• International Institute for Geo-information Science and      tional dimension. In consultation with the government,
  Earth Observation (ITC) (4),                                 and, if necessary, with the support of government, these
• Delft University of Technology – Aeronautical and            networks are also the drivers of new Dutch policy.
  Aerospace Engineering (5)                                    These networks are varied In the field of GMES, space
• University of Amsterdam (UvA), Earth Sciences (6)            and geodesy, and in the field of GMES itself there is an
• Free University Amsterdam (VU), Spatial Information          unambiguous cross-fertilisation between these three
  Laboratory of the Institute of Environmental Studies         themes.
  (SPINlab) and UNIGIS (7) en (8)
• Utrecht University, Geosciences (9)                          The Netherlands Industrial Space Organisation (NISO)
• Delft University of Technology, GeoMatics (10)               (26) is a network of Dutch businesses in the space
• Hogeschool Utrecht, University of Applied Sciences,          industry. NISO’s mission is to boost the technical skills and
  Geodesy and Geoinformatics (11)                              concentrate Dutch interests in the space industry. A total
                                                               of 25 businesses are affiliated with the NISO, an organi-
Research and Development in the field of Earth observation      sation which makes a significant contribution towards
and geodesy                                                    the development and exploitation of the spatial, land and
• TNO Built Environment and Geosciences (12)                   geomatics infrastructure of GMES.
• Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI) (13)             The Netherlands Society for Aerospace (NVR) (27) was
• Wageningen University Laboratory of Geo-information          founded in 1951 and is one of the pioneers of space
   Science and Remote Sensing (14)                             travel. The NVR is one of the founders of the International
• Wageningen IMARES (15)                                       Astronautical Federation (IAF).
• Alterra, Wageningen University institute in the field
   of natural resources management, agro-ecology,
   conservancy and land use; Europe’s leading institute in
   this broad field (16)
• National Institute of Public Health and the Environment
   (RIVM) (17)                                                 The National Users Platform for Earth Observation (NGPA)
• CESAR Observatory (Cabauw Experimental Site for              (28) is divided into a number of study groups and platforms:
   Atmospheric Research) (18)                                  the Working Group Remote Sensing for Agriculture and
                                                               Nature Conservation (WRSLN), Working Group Atmospheric
Research and Development in the field of aerospace:             Remote sensing Research (ROAT), the study group for
• National Aerospace Laboratory (Netherlands)                  Remote Sensing of Water (Light & Water) and the Dutch
  (NLR) (19)                                                   platform Global Monitoring for Environment and Security,
• Netherlands Agency for Aerospace                             GMES-GEO Platform (GMES) (29). The GMES-GEO platform
  Programmes (NIVR) (20)                                       was set up by the Dutch private and public sector. This
• SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research. SRON          platform serves as the contact desk for coordination and
  is closely affiliated with Utrecht University and the         information in this field. It has almost 50 affiliated organi-
  University of Groningen (21)                                 sations in the public and private sector.
• TNO Space (22)
                                                               The Netherlands Geodetic Commission (NCG) (30) is a
 Earth Observation Portal                                      section of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and
 The Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programmes               Sciences (KNAW) and has the following tasks:
 (NIVR) is developing an Earth Observation Portal              • to initiate and coordinate fundamental and strategic
 website that will provide an overview of the activities of       geodetic research in the Netherlands;
 the value-adding sector and knowledge institutes in the       • to advise on general lines of policy for geodesy, including
 field of Earth observation in the Netherlands (23).               education and in relation to societal developments;
                                                               • to stimulate the dissemination of geodetic knowledge,
 The Netherlands in national and international research           such as knowledge originating from research conducted
 projects                                                         in the Netherlands;
 A great deal of information on Dutch research activities      • to encourage, preserve and expand the geodetic
 is contained in the Dutch Research Database (NOD)                infrastructure in the Netherlands;
 (24). The Cordis database lists all international projects    • Nto establish and maintain international contact in
 in which the Netherlands is involved (25).                       respect of geodesy.

Networks                                                       The NCG has various committees and task forces in which
There is a clear multiplicity of user groups and networks in   some 60 individuals affiliated to universities, institutes,
the Netherlands. Together, these networks of businesses,       government services and private enterprises are involved.
research institutes and the government determine the vision    Geodesy and the KNAW are of essential significance in
and strategy for realising cooperation, establishing policy    GMES with regard to the provision of geo-information.

                                                               NOST -   Space for Geo Information in The Netherlands - maart/april 2007
4   A total of 18 businesses and knowledge institutes in the       these two companies in the field of atmosphere and water
    field of observing and forecasting the ocean are combined       management distinguish the Netherlands in the field of
    in the Dutch Ocean Group (31). This group plays an active      GMES.
    role in the European contribution to the Global Ocean
    Observing System (EuroGOOS) in the province of the data        In practice
    infrastructure and the provision of services for operational
    oceanography, which is of direct importance for GMES.
                                                                      Security: Geodan Alert Service for the Police
    The Netherlands Engineering Consultants Organisation                                             Geodan is a consultancy
    (NEDECO) (32) has several businesses in its network that                                         and development busi-
    use geo-information products for their services, not only in                                     ness for a variety of
    the Netherlands but throughout the entire world. Via GMES,                                       geodetic products. In
    and thanks to its international experience, NEDECO’s                                             addition to,
    network makes it possible for the organisation to strengthen                                     the portal for online map
    the European position in the field of remote sensing.                                             services offering detailed
                                                                                                     aerial photographs of the
    The private sector                                                                               whole of the Netherlands
    There are numerous businesses in the Netherlands active                                          with a 50 cm resolution,
    in the field of GMES and Earth observation. The private                                           Geodan has marketed
    sector is subdivided into the suppliers and developers                                           several different pro-
    of technology and specialised consultancies and firms                                             ducts.
    of consulting engineers. In the Netherlands there are                                            The alert service for the
    approximately 50 businesses (with a collective manpower                                          Groningen Police, for
    of some 1,000 employees) engaged primarily in developing         Figure 3: alert service        example, was chosen by
    and supplying space technology and the manufacture of            (photo: Geodan)                the Blomberg Institute as
    hardware. For instance, the Dutch division of Thales is                                         one of the most innovative
    involved in the development of OSIRIS, the first integrated        projects in the security sector.
    service of the GMES programme for Europe. OSIRIS will
    become the European real-time observation and crisis              The alert service for the police is a product for providing
    management system in three fields: air pollution in urban          police officers, on the basis of their current location
    areas, unforeseen water pollution and forest fires. The            (among other things by using GPS), with specific
    Dutch Fox Crypto and C.H.E.S.S. Embedded Technology are           information about individuals and police matters in
    suppliers of the Galileo system’s security and cryptography.      order to oversee mobilisation coordination.
    These are two of the approximate ten companies involved
    as suppliers of technology for the Galileo project (33). In
    2004 alone, the European Space Research and Technology
    Centre (ESTEC) spent 289 million on Dutch products and

    The engineering consultancy sector is quite extensive in
    the Netherlands and the country is able to boast numerous,
    diverse engineering consultancies of international repute.
    Examples being internationally recognised consultancies
    such as DHV, Grontmij and Fugro. The Netherlands is
    particularly strong in the field of water management and          Figure 4: geo-infromation Groningen Constabulary (photo: Geodan)
    atmospheric research.
                                                                      This provides police officers with information not only
    A large section of Dutch                                          about the location of their colleagues, but also where
    geo-enterprises      are                                          the offence has taken place, exactly, within 10 metres.
    united in the Geomatics                                           The solution is based on the Geodan Movida Mobile
    Business Park (34).                                               Client that supports PDAs fitted with a GPS antenna
    The fifteen businesses                                             and exchanges both location and information with the
    located in the park are                                           police back end system (35).
    involved in the current GMES projects Coastwatch and
    Global Monitoring for Food Security.

    With MeteoConsult and the KNMI, the Netherlands is
    effectively represented internationally in products in the
    field of weather forecasting. Research carried out by

                                                                   NOST - Space for Geo Information in The Netherlands - maart/april 2007

TerraImaging has supplied customers in need of
accurate and detailed 2D or 3D geo-information products
with high-quality remote sensing products, such as
laser scanning and digital cameras, since 1994. TerraI-
maging combines data collection with data processing
into lifelike 3D virtualisations.
TerraImaging has charted the dike system in the
Netherlands in high-level resolution 3D and at a high
level of accuracy for the Water Management Authorities.    Figure 6: TopIQ (photo: Groeneveld)
Some time after the first image has been captured, the
dike survey can be carried out again and any changes
are immediately observable.                                Transport:
Major changes in a dike’s profile can reveal unstable       Groeneveld TopIQ
areas. The difference in reflection intensity makes it
possible to distinguish between different sorts of soil    Groeneveld is the transport specialist in the Netherlands
and type of dike revetment.                                with 14 establishments world-wide. The Groeneveld
TerraImaging uses true ortho projection and thus           Information Technology division has developed a unique
guarantees the accurate location of all elements on a      universal transport system: TopIQ.
photograph, and they can be charted immediately or         TopIQ is a board computer with an incorporated back
combined with other geo-information (36).                  office which, in addition to tracking and tracing by GPS,
                                                           also offers run registration, remote control, incorporated
                                                           navigation system and means of communication based
                                                           on GPRS and GSM.
                                                           The product was developed completely in accordance
                                                           with the needs of the market, is easily accessible and
                                                           It was developed with the assistance of Java and runs
                                                           on the JBED operating system. Software updating is
                                                           achieved by using the Open Services Gateway Initiative
                                                           (OSGI) (37)

                                                           Figure 7: World Port Center Rotterdam

Figure 5: dike profiles (photos: TerraImaging)

                                                          NOST -   Space for Geo Information in The Netherlands - maart/april 2007
6                                                                 Other Dutch companies operating in the field of space and
                                                                  Earth observation:
                                                                  • Aerodata International Surveys: A Dutch-Belgium
                                                                     company specialised in aerial photography, laser
                                                                     altimetry, digital orthophotography and remote sensing
    Marien: Wageningen IMARES                                        (42).
    Vessel Monitoring through Satellite                           • Alkyon: advises on harbour planning and design, coastal
                                                                     defence and development and the design of offshore
    Wageningen IMARES, Institute for Marine Resources                constructions and pipelines (43).
    & Ecosystem Studies, focuses on strategic and applied         • Arcadis: a major international engineering consultancy in
    marine ecological research.                                      the field of infrastructure, the environment and facilities
    The institute was founded in mid-2006 and comprises              (44).
    RIVO, sections of Alterra and the TNO unit Ecological         • Argoss gives advice, develops and supplies information
    Risks. IMARES, with its 180 experts, is involved in four         systems and services on the basis of observations of the
    fields of action: ecology and nature, the environment,            coastal and marine environment for planning and design
    fishery and aquaculture.                                          (45).
    In the fishery field of action IMARES has developed a           • CycloMedia is specialised in the systematic imaging of
    system of vessel monitoring through satellite (VMS) for          environments on the basis of 360º panorama photographs
    the fishery sector. The system charts on a thematic map           (46).
    the fishing routes that are being taken by the approxi-        • DHV is a major international consultancy and engineering
    mately 250 ships.                                                group in the markets Construction and Industry, Mobility,
    The catch per sort of fish and number of hours spent out          Airports, Spatial Planning and Environment and Water
    at sea is recorded on a daily basis. The position, speed         (47).
    and sailing direction is passed on to the VMS system by       • DutchSpace: the Netherlands’ largest aerospace
    satellite.                                                       enterprise (48)
    The data is not only used to assist the supervisory task of   • EARS (Environmental Analysis & Remote Sensing): the
    the General Inspection Service (AID) but also by IMARES          Netherlands most long-standing remote sensing company
    for research purposes (38).                                      (49).
                                                                  • Fugro: a large international consultancy and engineering
                                                                     firm in the field of Geotechnical Services, Survey Services,
                                                                     and Geoscience Services (50).
                                                                  • Geosense: experts in GIS and Remote Sensing in support
                                                                     of spatial planning and the sustainable management and
                                                                     development of natural resources (51).
                                                                  • GeoServe: supplier and consultancy for satellite
                                                                     information (52).
                                                                  • Grontmij: a leading international consultancy and
                                                                     engineering firm in the field of construction, infrastructure
                                                                     and the environment (53).
                                                                  • Imagem provides services and supplies products for the
                                                                     processing and imaging of geographical information (54).
                                                                  • Infram: consultancy in the field of policy, management
                                                                     and maintenance of civil engineering infrastructure (55).
                                                                  • Oranjewoud: a major engineering consultancy in the field
    Figure 8: VMS image (figure: IMARES)                              of space and mobility, the environment and safety and
    Figure 9: fishingboat (foto: IMARES)                              recreation (56).
                                                                  • SarVision: spin-off of Wageningen University (WUR),
                                                                     active in the field of systematic satellite and airborne
                                                                     monitoring and surveying systems for management of the
                                                                     environment and natural resources (57).
                                                                  • Stork Aerospace develops and produces high-grade
                                                                     components and systems for the aviation and aerospace
                                                                     industry, and also provides integrated services and
                                                                     supplies products to the owners and operators of aircraft
                                                                  • TomTom International is the Netherlands’ most well
                                                                     known developer of navigation systems (59).
                                                                  • WL | Delft Hydraulics is an internationally renowned
                                                                     consultancy for water-related issues (60).

                                                                  NOST - Space for Geo Information in The Netherlands - maart/april 2007
Land: NEO change
monitoring and
early warning

In collaboration with
the Vienna University                                             Public sector
of Technology the                                                 The public sector in the Netherlands comprises ministries,
Dutch        geomatics                                            water management authorities and executive organisations.
company, NEO, is                                                  The public sector is generally integrated in programmes
exploiting a device to                                            in which several government agencies participate, with
measure soil humidity                                             or without private parties. For space there is the Dutch
by using satellite Figure 10: water balances (photo: NEO)         National Space Programme in which the Ministry of
radar.                                                            Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the
NEO is thus able to accurately chart how certain types            Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry
of soil react to rainfall by using the data produced by the       of Economic Affairs participate together with a variety
ASCAT signal from the METOP satellites. More water is             of executive organisations such as NIVR, SRON and the
able to infiltrate into open sandy ground than compact             KNMI. The space programme focuses on the development
clay ground. This method provides efficient and fast               of Dutch space technology and its application in Dutch
information about developing drought or a surplus of              society. The Netherlands came in 9th with its contribution
moisture. This means that peak discharges into rivers             to ESA in 2005. At the close of 2006 the Consultative Council
can even be forecast at a time when the water is still on         for Geo Information policy and commitment building (RAVI)
the land. In the case of drought, NEO is able to forecast         and the National Clearinghouse Geo-information (NCGI)
the threat of drought weeks before it can be forecast by          merged to become Geonovum. Geonovum sees to the
the traditional methods. The method is so accurate that           better alignment and coordination of public geographical
the yield of drought-sensitive crops can be estimated             data in the Netherlands. The Ministry of Housing, Spatial
long before harvesting (39).                                      Planning and Environment is the coordinating member
                                                                  of government for geo-information. The new foundation
Using all available geo-information and an array of               receives a subsidy of € 700.000 from the Ministry of
map material NEO offers change monitoring. Is the                 Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment, the Ministry
information used up to date and is it accurate? Thanks to         of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Transport,
the simplicity with which the map material has become             Public Works and Water Management, the Land Register
available, up-to-dateness and reliability of maps has             and the Netherlands Institute of Applied Geosciences TNO
become essential. In the Netherlands NEO often uses               (TNO-NITG). Real estate information in the Netherlands is
the Large Scale Map of the Netherlands ( but               recorded with the Land Register and geo-information with
also information from reporting systems, licences, and            the Geo-information and ICT Advisory Department of the
other geo-information is also used where necessary.               Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management.
For the management                                                These cooperate, for example, in the RDNAP project for the
of natural reserves                                               quality measurement of real time GPS services (61). With
change monitoring                                                 the Innovation Programme Space for Geo-information
can also be a very                                                (RGI) (62) the Dutch Government stimulates Dutch trade
useful tool for                                                   and industry to develop new services and products and
land      managers                                                the relationship between the suppliers of geo-information.
to monitor forest                                                 On 1 November 2006 a total of 75 project applications had
fires,       grassifi-                                              been submitted at a joint project value of some € 5 million
cation, drying out                                                Euro. The innovation programme forms part of the grants
and various other                                                 for investments in the knowledge infrastructure provision
natural processes                                                 (BSIK) (63) which involves 7 ministries. Within the scope of
(40,41).                                                          the BSIK provision the Netherlands invests € 800 million in
                      Figure 11: change monitoring (photo: NEO)   the knowledge infrastructure.

                                                                  Opportunities and challenges
                                                                  The Dutch stance with regard to GMES is set out in the
                                                                  government document bearing the same name. This
                                                                  document specifically sets out the Dutch point of view on the
                                                                  European Commission Communication ‘Global Monitoring
                                                                  for Environment and Security (GMES): Establishing a GMES
                                                                  capacity by 2008 (Action Plan (2004-2008). The document

                                                                  NOST -   Space for Geo Information in The Netherlands - maart/april 2007
sets out three main reasons why GMES is important for the        31.
Netherlands:                                                     32.
1. Policy preparations and the implementation of policy call     33. On the basis of the R&D Stimulation Act (WBSO)
   for the constant availability of reliable (geo) information       database over the years 2004 up to and including 2007
   on the national, regional and global scale about environ-     34.
   mental conditions, (civil) security threats, the protection   35.
   of vital parts of the national infrastructure and the         36.
   consequences of climate change.                               37.
2. As a European initiative, GMES now offers users and           38.
   concerned businesses in the Netherlands a unique              39.
   opportunity to use sustainable (geo) information in the       40.
   operational sense.                                            41.
3. The Netherlands wishes to use its recognised and strong       42.
   position, acquired through investing in knowledge, and        43.
   to consolidate it and where possible improve it in GMES,      44. www.arcadis.nlv
   especially in the fields of monitoring water and the           45.
   atmosphere.                                                   46.
The European roll out of GMES will be an organisational          47.
and technological challenge. While collaboration and             48.
coordination with international partners is an opportunity       49.
for those Dutch companies that have already earned               50.
themselves a strong position, it is particularly the small       51.
and medium-sized enterprises, especially the value-adding        52.
businesses, that will benefit from the development and            53.
provision of spatial infrastructuur, products and services       54.
and the requisite information infrastructure for the user.       55.
Sources and additional information                               57.
1.                                             58.
2.                                 59.
3.                                        60.
4.                                                    61.
6.                                                    Colophon
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                                                                 NOST - Space for Geo Information in The Netherlands - maart/april 2007

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