Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) is a joint initiative of the European Commission and European Space Agency with the goal of achieving an autonomous and operational capability in the exploitation of geo-spatial information services by 2008.

Logo GMES The objective is to rationalise the use of multiple-sources data to get a timely and quality information, services and knowledge, and to provide autonomous and independent access to information for policy-makers, particularly in relation to environment and security.

GMES builds upon 4 pillars: the space component (satellites and associated ground segment), in-situ measurements (ground-based and airborne data gathering networks), data harmonisation and standardization, and services to users.

Logo INSPIRE The general situation on spatial information in Europe is one of fragmentation of datasets and sources, gaps in availability, lack of harmonisation between datasets at different geographical scales and duplication of information collection. These problems make it difficult to identify, access and use data that is available.

Fortunately, awareness is growing at national and European level about the need for quality geo-referenced information to support understanding of the complexity and interactions between human activities and environmental pressures and impacts.

The INSPIRE initiative therefore aims at creating the legislative and technical groundwork for the creation of a European Spatial Data Infrastructure. This initiative is an ambitious undertaking and a major challenge given the general situation outlined above and the many stakeholder interests to be addressed.

Providing the basis for GMES application services, supporting the harmonization process initialised by INSPIRE and creating the basis for a sustained use of spatial data is the aim of the Humboldt project.