EARSeL is a scientific network of European remote sensing institutes, coming from both academia and the commercial/industrial sector. The association was founded in 1977 under the auspices of the European Space Agency, the Council of Europe and the European Commission. The main goals of the association are:
- stimulating and promoting education and training related to remote sensing and Earth observation,
- initiating and coordinating application-oriented research,
- forming a bridge between technology and applications of interest to the wide user community,
- assisting the sponsoring agencies in the development of new sensors and systems and in any technical matters of relevance,
- providing a network of experts for the agencies in Europe,
- carrying out joint research projects on the use of remote sensing for research, monitoring and education,
- promoting co-operation between remote sensing experts and the environmental managers and decision-makers.
To reach these goals the main scientific efforts of EARSeL are concentrated in Special Interest Groups (SIGs). These SIGs form the foundation of the activities of EARSeL and its 'raison d'être'. They encourage co-operation and foster innovative applications of remote sensing. The SIGs organize workshops and specialist meetings, the reports and proceedings of which are published. There are currently 15 active SIG:
EARSeL and Belgium
Belgium is an active member of the association since the beginning. Rudy Goossens (University of Gent) was member of the governing body from 2001 to 2005 and chairman of the association from 2005 to 2009. Jean-Christophe Schyns (STEREO programme manager) has been member of the EARSeL board since 2014 and has been its President since 2021.
BELSPO is also representing the Belgian members in the Council of the association.
BELSPO contact point
Three workshops were also organized in our country:
- EARSEL Liège 2021: Earth Observation for sustainable cities and communities, a joint workshop that was to be physically organized in Liege in 2020 and, due to the Covid crisis, was finally held virtually in 2021;
- The 3rd Advances in Remote Sensing for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management organized in Gent in 2012;
- The 5th Imaging Spectroscopy workshop held in Bruges in 2007.