Archive for the 'Research' Category

e-Trikala S.A. – The First Digital City in Greece


Since 2004, e-trikala , in cooperation with and in the line of the operational program “The Information Society” is acting in the fields of new broadband technologies, successfully implementing municipal projects. On the 8th of April, 2008, having the required experience, it was transformed into e-Trikala S.A., an emerging company, formed within the Municipality of Trikala, Greece.

By creating infrastructure and by providing services, e-Trikala continuously aims to the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based applications, oriented to the improvement of all citizens’ everyday life, in a medium sized city, simplifying public transactions, reducing telecommunication costs and delivering new services related to the local way of life. Moreover, these ICT applications offer new ways and methods that enable citizens participate on policy-making, while in parallel establish local Government and Public Authorities as guarantors of local society’s every day proper, digital and distanced operation.

e-Trikala S.A. operates upon a fully integrated basis while, as the First Digital City in Greece (proclaimed in 2004 by the Minister of Economics, Mr. Folias), it establishes high technological and broadband National standards by using and offering its “know-how” to other municipalities within Greece.

During the last couple of years, e-Trikala is cooperating with the Central Union of Greek Municipalities ( ΚΕΔΚΕ ), serving as a consulting company, using research and development strategies, regarding the country’s technological as well as economic growth.

The company’s main areas of expertise are:

  • e-transportation
  • e-education
  • e-health
  • e-government & e-democracy
  • geographical information systems
  • networks (Wi-Fi, fiber optic, Wi-Max pilot application & operation)
  • event planning & organizing (exhibitions, conferences, galas)

e-Trikala projects refer to a number of actions and infrastructure, which aim to the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based applications, oriented to the improvement of citizens’ everyday life, in a medium sized city.

As we are moving through the 21st century and as we deploy technology and its advantages, every citizen has the opportunity to enjoy useful applications for their everyday transactions, their distanced servicing as well as local and touristic information services. The e-trikala team operates under the new broadband reality of things, while it creates and provides digital projects, integrated broadband applications and e-services for the citizens.

The field of overall National, European and International activities until today includes:

  • Official INEC membership (International Network of e-Communities) membership
  • Lead partnership of the European project INTERREG Digital Cities
  • Host and lead organizers of the Broadband Cities 2008 (INEC’s annual conference)
  • Candidate and Smart21 award winner during the Broadband Economy 2009 Annual Summit in New York
  • Founder of the first Digital Community S.A. in Greece consisting of 11 municipalities of central Greece (1,5 million people)
  • Participation in “e-Health based Chronic Disease Management 2008” in Slovenia
  • Αctive in E-health European projects (ISISEMD, e-HealthRegion, WISEE, LivingLabThessaly, RenewingHealth, INDEPENDENT)
  • Recently member in the Global Cities Dialogue network
  • Partnership in the European project ISISEMD.




The project


The project examines the use of geographic media in schools and teacher education. Geo-media is the visualisation of information from different media sources and is concerned with digital content and its processing based on place, position and location. Many geographic media are widely used for navigation and routing purposes. Cartographic communication has never been so easy to implement, therefore 21st century school education needs to include geo-media into daily work. Innovative approaches to teaching and learning are needed to study environments from local to global scale.

The network links innovative centres around Europe where geo-media use is well developed. Products, resources, experiences and ideas are shared between the centres and opened to the public wherever possible.

A infrastructure is under development. The European Centre and an accredited network of national and regional Centres of Excellence are developing an online catalogue of materials, courses, publications, links and good practice scenarios, and are publishing a series of core publications.



Announcing the official start of MPE2013 – Mathematics of Planet Earth


More than 100 scientific societies, universities, research institutes, and organizations all over the world have banded together to dedicate 2013 as a special year for the Mathematics of Planet Earth.

Our planet is the setting for dynamic processes of all sorts, including the geophysical processes in the mantle, the continents, and the oceans, the atmospheric processes that determine our weather and climates, the biological processes involving living species and their interactions, and the human processes of finance, agriculture, water, transportation, and energy. The challenges facing our planet and our civilization are multidisciplinary and multifaceted, and the mathematical sciences play a central role in the scientific effort to understand and to deal with these challenges.

The mission of the MPE project is to:

  • Encourage research in identifying and solving fundamental questions about planet earth
  • Encourage educators at all levels to communicate the issues related to planet earth
  • Inform the public about the essential role of the mathematical sciences in facing the challenges to our planet

MPE2013 has now reached the breadth of an international year under the patronage of UNESCO. MPE2013 is run by its partners. The partners, mostly scientific institutes, learned societies, international organizations, associations of teachers have committed to organize scientific and outreach activities on the theme. For several years already, an intense planning of scientific activities is taking place all over the world. Many research institutes will host long-term programs, workshops and summer schools throughout 2013. The learned societies or teachers associations introduce MPE components in their congresses, with related plenary or public lectures, and special sessions. They also organize outreach activities on MPE topics. An international competition of museum quality exhibits (modules) will produce the basis of an Open Source MPE virtual Exhibition, which will be officially launched at the Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris on March 5 2013.

MPE2013 is born from the will of the world mathematical community to learn more about the challenges faced by our planet and the underlying mathematical problems, and to increase the research effort on these issues. Indeed, the recent tendencies have increased the pressure to comprehend the planet and its environment: growing population competing for the same global resources, increased frequency and intensity of dramatic meteorological events, and evidence pointing to longer term patterns of general climate change. Mathematicians have an expertise in modelling and solving problems. MPE2013 creates exceptional opportunities for long-term partnerships, both inside the mathematical sciences and with other related scientific disciplines. It will allow training a new generation of researchers working on scientific problems related to climate change and sustainability.

In parallel to the scientific component, the outreach component of MPE2013 illustrates for the public and for the schools the role of mathematical sciences to help tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. It will permit to motivate kids in schools by providing stimulating answers to questions like “What is mathematics useful for?”

The theme “Mathematics of Planet Earth” is interpreted as broadly as possible. In addition to climate change and sustainability, it includes geophysics, ecology and epidemiology, biodiversity, as well as the global organization of the planet by humans. The different topics have been classified into four themes.

The four themes of MPE2013:

  • A PLANET TO DISCOVER: oceans; meteorology and climate; mantle processes, natural resources, solar systems
  • A PLANET SUPPORTING LIFE: ecology, biodiversity, evolution
  • A PLANET ORGANIZED BY HUMANS: political, economic, social and financial systems; organization of transport and communications networks; management of resources; Energy
  • A PLANET AT RISK: climate change, sustainable development, epidemics; invasive species, natural disasters

Hence, Mathematics of Planet Earth attracts researchers with a very wide range of expertise. Their increased collaboration and efforts in capacity building will last: Mathematics of Planet Earth will continue past 2013.



GMES Land geoland2 Project: An Era Ends

After 8 years of GMES land research projects and the start of the initial GMES Services (GIO) in 2011, two important events signaled the transition from prototype development to operational implementation of land services: (1) the 8th and last “geoland forum2: in Copenhagen and (2) the final review meeting in Brussels.

The geoland2 project with 57 partners from 20 European nations developed the GMES Land Service and demonstrated an impressive portfolio consisting of 200 different products and applications. The continental and local component of geoland2 were transferred to the European Environment Agency and the global component to the JRC and implemented as part of GIO. Thus GMES Land leads – based on geoland2 results – to operational geo-information services that provide accurate, reliable and harmonised information across borders.

The 8th geoland forum took place in Copenhagen on 18th and 19th October 2012. 150 GMES Land stakeholders were invited to discuss the status and results of the GMES Land Services with the project consortium.

On 11th and 12th December 2012 the geoland2 project completed its final review meeting at the European Commission in Brussels. The project’s Executive Board presented the various results that have been achieved in the previous 4 years to the project officer and the review panel. During the two days intense meeting the team convinced the review panel that geoland2 has done a great job, in fact the European Commission was very impressed by what geoland2 has delivered.

An executive summary outlines detailed information about the geoland2 project and can be accessed here



Monitoring Water Resources in the Mediterranean


Rice mapping

The effects of climate change, population growth and economic development in the Mediterranean are posing a threat to the water supply in the region. As part of ESA’s TIGER initiative, satellite data are supporting water management by identifying water resources.

The demand for water is growing around the Mediterranean and is especially crucial in areas that do not receive regular rainfall. This is especially true for the southernmost parts of Europe and the countries lying along the African coast and in the eastern Mediterranean Basin.

Owing to the increasing population, the demand for water is growing for drinking and irrigation, representing 70–80% of the water use in the region. To get a better grip on water management, satellites are increasingly acknowledged as indispensable tools for collecting information on available water resources and their use.

This information is also necessary for planning infrastructure, such as where to build a dam, how to divert a waterway or manage a flood event.

The ten-year TIGER initiative exploits Earth observation technologies in order to respond to the urgent need for reliable water information in Africa.

TIGER is currently collaborating with the Euro-Mediterranean Information System on Know-How in the Water Sector (EMWIS), organising water observation systems and building capacity in the Mediterranean region.

In this context, a short training session and workshop was organised in early December at ESA’s ESRIN centre in Frascati, Italy, with participants representing national water authorities and remote sensing institutions from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.


Nile encroachment

“The collaboration initiated with ESA is very promising,” said Eric Mino, manager of EMWIS Technical Unit.

“Earth observation can not only increase knowledge on the water cycle and irrigation efficiency at river basin level, but also provides comparable, independent and objective information across the boundaries.

“This is necessary for all international water initiatives in the Mediterranean region, in particular for the projects initiated by the Union for the Mediterranean.”

In Egypt, satellite data are being used for monitoring rice fields – a crop that requires a significant amount of water and is mainly grown in the Nile Delta. Satellite observation on land cover maps combined with indicators on the vegetation status and land-surface temperature help to improve crop irrigation management.

Between Egypt’s arid climate and high water consumption, it is important to keep an eye on water quantity, as well as quality. To estimate the quantity lost by evaporation, information on land-surface temperature is used based on satellite data.

Satellite imagery is also used to observe wetland environments and monitor changes in coastlines and river banks, such as the Nile.

High-resolution imagery from the upcoming Sentinel-2 mission, being developed under Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme, is expected to improve crop mapping and support water management in the Mediterranean Basin.


NASA’S Next-Generation Communications Satellite Arrives At Kennedy

photo.jpgCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s newest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, known as TDRS-K, arrived Tuesday at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for a Jan. 29 launch. TDRS-K arrived aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 from the Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems assembly facility in El Segundo, Calif.

For almost 30 years, the TDRS spacecraft have provided a reliable communications network for NASA, serving numerous national and international space missions. The TDRS fleet is a space-based communication system used to provide tracking, telemetry, command, and high bandwidth data return services. The satellites provide in-flight communications with spacecraft operating in low-Earth orbit. It has been 10 years since NASA’s last TDRS launch.

“This launch will provide even greater capabilities to a network that has become key to enabling many of NASA’s scientific discoveries,” says Jeffrey Gramling, project manager for TDRS at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

TDRS-K will launch to geostationary orbit aboard an Atlas V rocket. The spacecraft is the first of three next-generation satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for NASA by expanding the lifespan of the fleet. The launch of TDRS-L is scheduled for 2014 and TDRS-M in 2015.

Each of the new satellites has a higher performance solar panel design to provide more spacecraft power. This upgrade will return signal processing for the S-Band multiple access service to the ground — the same as the first-generation TDRS spacecraft. Ground-based processing allows TDRS to service more customers with different and evolving communication requirements.

The TDRS fleet began operating during the space shuttle era and provides critical communication support from several locations in geostationary orbit to NASA’s human spaceflight endeavors, including the International Space Station. The fleet also provides communications support to an array of science missions, as well as various types of launch vehicles. Of the nine TDRS satellites launched, seven are still operational, although four are already beyond their design life. Two have been retired. The second TDRS was lost in 1986 during the space shuttle Challenger accident.

NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation Program, part of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington, is responsible for the TDRS network. NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy is responsible for launch management. United Launch Alliance provides the Atlas V rocket launch service.

To join the online conversation about TDRS on Twitter, follow the hashtag #TDRS. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit:

For more information about TDRS, visit:


Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Dewayne Washington
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

EU launches Framework Contract for Experts in Energy, Transport, Environment, Agriculture, ICT, Life Sciences and others


The European Union is launching a Framework Contract for experts in several areas, including Energy, Transport, Environment, Agriculture, ICT, Science and Technology and Life Sciences. Through the framework contract, expertise shall be provided in the form of briefings, studies, the organisation of events, the delivery of communication services, and ad hoc services.

Studies produced should be concise and easily accessible, reflecting the specific needs identified in the individual specifications for each assignment. The contractor’s responsibility will mainly be to analyse the impact of scientific and technological development, describe approaches to solving technology-related problem areas and identify policy options for action in a manner helpful to client’s role.

The service providers are expected to be able to operate across the scientific disciplines and to present complex facts in a manner which is easily understood by a layperson. The service providers bear sole scientific responsibility for the results of their work. All work involved in the assessment of scientific and technological options is to be carried out independently and in a transparent way.

Additional services, such as possible attendance at client meetings and presentations by lead experts, or the organisation of workshops, exhibitions or other events internally or externally, and information dissemination services are included.

Expertise is required in the following thematic areas:

  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Environment (including climate change)
  • ICT and information society
  • Nanoscale science and technology (including industrial applications)
  • Life sciences for human well-being
  • Agriculture, food and biotechnology
  • Science, technology and innovation policy
  • Safety and security technologies.

The total contract duration is 4 years (48 months). The total consulting budget is estimated at EUR 650,000 annually for each field, corresponding to an average of € 72,000 per project and a total of EUR 2,990,000 over the project lifetime, including added services.

Deadline: 8 March 2013


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