Developing a Skills Strategy for the Earth Observation and Geoinformation sectors

Highlights on the current and upcoming achievements — by Mònica Miguel-Lago [European Association of Remote Sensing Companies]

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

The Earth Observation and Geoinformation sector (EO/GI) is rapidly changing, and the needs of industry are constantly evolving. Several trends emerged that are transforming the market landscape and moreover there is a gap between the demand and supply offerings. To that end, the Erasmus+ project EO4GEO aims to define a long-term and sustainable strategy to fill the gap between the supply of and demand for space/geospatial education and training considering the current and expected technological and non-technological developments in this sector. The first pillars of the skills strategy are now assembling based on surveying, discussing and agreeing within the GI and EO communities.

During the first months of the EO4GEO project the priority was given to the preparation and development of two surveys: one on the supply of education and training in the field of EO & GI (T1.1), while the second focused on the demand for education and training and the required occupational profiles in particular (T1.2). Under specific consideration of the needs expressed by public and private bodies a workshop held end of May reviewed the first results of the demand survey and brought together stakeholders to exchange viewpoints on EO/GI sectoral skills demands, currently and against potential future scenarios such as discussing the specific skills requirements and the potential (mis-)match with current educational contents.

The EO4GEO workshop has been a major occasion to get important inputs on the demand of the workforce skills by high-level stakeholders in the geospatial field, with different perspectives and consequently different and complementary inputs.

Major outcomes were:

(i) Skills other than technical are paramount to cope with future societal challenges, soft skills particularly. This also entails a multidisciplinary approach, integration, and socio-cultural competence

(ii) From a technological point of view, data-centred curricula are getting more important, to be capable of dealing with data in any step from creating to storing

(iii) Public administration could play a key role in professionals’ development asking for services to make Copernicus data use more dynamic and business models adaptive.

The surveys will remain open as the insights will provide the necessary input for T1.3 which is analyzing the trends, challenges and opportunities in the GI and EO sector, T1.4 on the analysis of skill shortages, gaps and mismatches between supply and demand as well as T1.5 on a preliminary sector skill strategy development.

A recent article on how EO4GEO is facilitating capacity building in the space geoinformation sector and the first insights for the demand survey here.