March 1, 2012 - OBSERVE CARAVAN Workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria

The concept of CARAVAN

Following the ISPRS tradition, the OBSERVE project realized the 1st CARAVAN in the Balkan countries.

The CARAVAN knowledge-transfer concept is simple:

  1. Visit target audience at their location rather than transporting them to the scientific and professional events.
  2. May focus on topics that are of interest to the region or the host country and aim directly to meet with local demands and needs.
  3. CARAVAN events will support cooperation between individuals, institutes and Countries within the region.

and its goals are set as :

  • Knowledge transfer and capacity building
  • Amplify the voice of local scientists and professionals
  • Encourage their cooperation
  • Elevate and support the status of local scientists, professionals, managers and officials that are dealing with spatial information
  • Increase the awareness of the private, public and governmental communities, officials and decision-makers to EO
  • Further the cooperation between individuals, institutes and Countries within the Balkan region in particular and outside the region, as well


This 1st CARAVAN workshop was divided in three major session

Please download program here.

1. The first session (P. Patias, M. Baltsavias, M. Konecny) dealt with:

  • The OBSERVE project, it's aims, activities and the major outcomes up to date;
  • The International "Geo" Scientific societies and their EO role and activities in the global arena;
  • The International institutes and horizontal research cooperation as expressed in the field of crisis management with EO support.

This part was very informative in terms of the general picture of EO. International and European structures, research innovations and policy making bodies constitute important reference information for the involved participants. Usually, this is the kind of information that one can rarely access from a single node.

2. The second session (G. Schwartz, S. Zlatanova) dealt with Current and planned EO activities in Europe. Emphasis was given in relation Balkan region and countries. Disaster monitoring has been presented also as a field where these activities can achieve real and useful impact.

The second part focused in technology and activities mainly in European countries. Whenever possible, special reference and relevance were given to the Balkan regional. Links to all relevant information (i.e. open calls, research opportunities, smart reporting, executive reports with aggregated results, etc.) were also provided. Outlook of the available technology and low or no-cost open source tools were also pointed out, at the end of the review. Disaster management was shown in the context of an application area of horizontal importance, but with relevance to local action. The importance of EO input for such cases was advocated and emphasized. Also, the importance of cooperation within national activities as much as in regional and international cooperation was mentioned as one of the best practices the participants may preserve as a conclusion of this day.

3. The third session (R. Vatseva, A. Frantsova, N. Zafirov, Ch. Georgiadis, Z. Gospavic) dealt with case studies and success stories, already realized in Balkan countries. Cases of Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece were presented.

The third part focused on a more local level. What was important here was to show success stories in country/national level, stressing from one hand the wide range of possible application areas and the local capacity of being an "EO player". Information flow and knowledge transfer were the main points of the session. Cooperation is impossible unless this information is available to local EO users and added value providers. Participants coming from other European countries that seem to be more advanced in these matters, contributed also with their experiences.

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Participants & Material

The workshop had a participation of 58 people, coming from different statues levels (administration officials, press, professionals, academicians and students).


As the first OBSERVE CARAVAN, it seems as a very good benchmark. It opened all the participants, including the OBSERVE partners, to additional EO activities in Bulgaria and the Balkan region, not known to us before. We should hope this start will serve as an incentive to continue with more such CARAVAN efforts the partners took upon themselves in addition to the original commitments.

View Workshop results in Multimedia

caravan workshop

Download Presentations and CARAVAN Event results CARAVAN Workshops


OBSERVE Post - GEO Workshop in Istanbul.

Earth Observations for the Social Benefit of the Balkans - Post-GEO Workshop

OBSERVE, BALKANGEONET and EGIDA FP7 projects organized 18-19 November, 2011 the Post GEO Workshop in Istanbul, Turkey. The workshop attracted 88 experts, stakeholders, local policy makers and academics who had the opportunity to get informed on the latest developments regarding International and European Earth Observation developments and participate in vivid debates on the future of EO in the Balkans.

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Description of the event

Balkan countries do not have a coherent and continuous approach towards the challenge of implementing integrated Earth Observation (EO) applications in environmental monitoring and management. The defect in the implementation of EO applications and their use in the environmental decision making are manifested through the limited synergies among national and regional institutions, ineffective technological means and discontinuous record of participation to international organizations and committees. On the other hand, the increasing importance of a common approach towards effective environmental monitoring practices, for the benefit of the societal web of the broader Balkan region, calls for immediate action, setting as a starting point the built up of regional institutional capacity and spillage of technology transfer.

Brief description of Workshop Aims:

The Post-GEO Workshop had the following aims

  • Inform audience on EO activities with focus on European institutions (aims, actions, near-term future plans).
  • Exchange views on how the above relate to EO activities in Southeastern Europe.
  • Inform speakers and leading EO institutions on needs regarding EO in Southeastern Europe.
  • Build-up acquaintances, networks and co-operations, with focus on Capacity Building and more extensive use of EO in Southeastern Europe, incl. possible contributions of related EU projects in European activities.


The Post-GEO Workshop was held in Conference Center of Maçka Campus of Istanbul Technical University (in turkish - "ITU Maçka Sosyal Tesisleri"), located in the centre of Istanbul - Maçka (exact pronounciation - "machka") district, just near the Taksım Area. The accommodation of participants will be organized in nearest hotels in Taksim Area.


You can download the event program here

View Workshop results in Multimedia


Download Presentations and Workshop results POST GEO WORKSHOP

Workshop results and conclusions will be presented in details in the forthcoming deliverable of OBSERVE project D3.3