Category Archives: Uncategorised

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European Natura 2000 day

Did you know that in 2017, 21st May was declared as the “European Natura 2000 day”?

The GeoLand Project seeks to establish a learning path for Higher Education students and their professors so that they are able to apply their geospatial analysis and knowledge in decision-making for landscape management, planning and protection of NATURA 2000 sites across Europe.

30 years ago, in 1992, the European Union adopted the EU Habitats Directive and the LIFE programme. This pioneering piece of legislation gave birth to the EU wide Natura 2000 Network, the world’s largest coordinated network of protected areas.

natura 2000 logoThe Natura 2000 network consists of Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas and Marine Protected Areas around Europe. Today, Natura 2000 consists of more than 27,800 sites across the EU‘s land and seas. The Network stretches over 18% of the EU’s land area and more than 9% of its marine territory and protects our unique natural heritage.

The European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council Presidency and the Committee of the Regions made the decision to establish Nature 2000 Day in order to highlight how significant it is to raise public awareness and realise that it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure a well-preserved natural heritage.

Natura 2000 Day aims to make European citizens more aware of the natural riches the Natura 2000 network holds, of the conservation work they carry out and of the benefits brought by the protected nature to people and to our planet.

Download the eNatura2000 mobile AppeNatura app image

If you cannot join the Natura 2000 Day celebrations in person this year, don’t worry. Learning about Natura 2000 and connecting with the sites managers and other nature professionals has never been so easy! With the eNatura2000 mobile app, all that is just a click away.

Get timely updates from the Natura 2000 world, read inspiring case studies, network and discuss with land managers across Europe. You can download the app on Google Play and the App Store!

Follow the link to find out about the events which are organised throughout Europe to celebrate and promote the Natura 2000 Network.

ESRI Schools Programme banner

GIS education for schools – focus on Bulgaria

GIS has undertaken a long road of development and its importance has been recognised in many areas, especially in education. Nowadays GIS tools are both accessible and affordable. So, if you are a teacher, mentor or trainer interested in teaching GIS in your school or university and to your students, there is some really cool news here to share with you.

ESRI Europe has launched a program called “GIS in School”, which provides a free GIS software for schools, which is designed for teachers who want to provide interactive tools to support the teaching and learning processes therein. As part of the program, teachers will get access to the ArcGIS Online platform, which offers its own secure environment with a free personalized account with a username and password for each teacher and for each student. In addition, you could also get access to Story Maps and other cool tools such as ArcGIS Online where a wide variety of tools and templates can be utilized to visualize data, create maps, perform analyses, and answer complex geographic questions with students.Bulgarian GIS in schools image

The program also offers support in developing, preparing and conducting GIS lessons, including “first steps” resources for beginners. Having said that, schools can get additional help via “GeoMentor”- a volunteer program in which professionals in the field of geospatial systems and technologies help teachers in Bulgarian schools to use the full potential of GIS technology in the classroom.

The “GIS in Schools” program is open on an all-year-round basis for all Bulgarian schools. Every Bulgarian school (state, municipal or private) included in the register of institutions in the secondary education system of the Ministry of Education and Science has the right to participate in the program. Any teacher, principal or administrative assistant from the respective school can apply for free participation in the program. Currently, there are 343 schools, 1100 teachers and 10 000+ students involved in the program in Bulgaria. Find out more

Hooked already? Well, why not go ahead and learn more about the “GIS in School” program and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity for your own school.

map of esri bulgaria schools

Budapest satellite image

Promoting the GEOLAND Project

During the first six months of its implementations, the GEOLAND project was presented and discussed in a number of relevant conferences and events.

In an effort to raise awareness of participants from various business and scientificgeoland dissemination picture disciplines, Atlantis Engineering SA promoted the GEOLAND project in Technology Forum.
This annual event takes place in Thessaloniki (Greece) in order to share knowledge and build collaborations between Industries, Research Centres and Academia

The main topic of the event was the development of innovative products and services, such as ICT applications in education, to be achieved through the combination of knowledge and new technological tools.
More info on the Forum

In September 2021, the GEOLAND project was presented at TIF Helexpo 85th Thessaloniki International Fair, the greatest exhibition event in Greece.

Institute for Mediterranean Studies – FORTH and Dr. Dimitris Alexakis had the chance to present the aims and the goals of the project to numerous visitors of the exhibition from Greece and abroad.
More info on the conference

In March, the new project was introduced at the Annual Conference and meeting of the European Association of Geographers. The event was held online due to pandemic situation . EUROGEO 2021 had the theme “Sustainable Development Goals for all”.  More than 100 presentations were given by participants from 47 countries.
More details about this conference

In June 2021, the GEOLAND project partner Atlantis Engineering SA took part in the EU Science & Innovation days event where the project was mentioned as part of an interesting interaction with policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and citizens . Collaboration, Research and Innovation were at the forefront in order to explore ways to recover from the pandemic.
More info on the Science and Innovation days

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Remote sensing and forest landscapes

Landscape surface change can provide important information to land management organisations and conservationists, relating to environmental impacts of various types of land uses and landscape patterns, including forest landscapes.

In general, in landscape research and planning, the most commonly used remote sensing datasets are aerial and satellite images. High resolution Remote Sensing has the potential to Improve landscape monitoring and research.

Remote sensing capabilities have dramatically improved in recent years, in terms of their spatial, spectral, and temporal resolutions. Airborne imaging has also improved offering very high spatial resolutions and hyper-spectral capabilities. It has thus become a very important tool to help map, and monitor the earth surface land uses.Sentinel image Italy

Data has been made increasingly available through rom state-of-the-art European initiatives like the Copernicus Open Access initiative and the processing capabilities such as Sentinel Hub..In parallel there have been signifiant breakthroughs in Cloud Computing, machine learning, data processing and software engineering which have made Earth observation data applicable to landscape monitoring as they offer powerful capabilities to assess landscape changes at different scales and investigate environmental relationships.

Forest monitoring is one such area that has benefited from improving Earth observation systems. Understanding ecological processes at these scales is key to many critical issues in forest planning, conservation and environmental design. Rigorous and innovative strategies are being applied for analysing remote sensing data and linking with other ground-based and non-spatial information.

European Union agencies and member states need to have access to the best-possible data, from multiple (public and private) data sources to enable the state of Europe’s forests to be assessed and its overall biodiversity researched. With the implementation of the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy and the EU Forest Strategy, it can be argued that landscape monitoring education as devised by the GEOLAND Project has never been so important.

Find out more