| Project of the Month - June 2011

SEOCA - GEO capacity building initiative in Central Asia

Central Asia is an important European partner facing critical environmental challenges. Possessing certain experiences and capabilities of Earth Observation (EO) data application for solving environmental, economic, societal and other problems, this region is better prepared for the uptake of GEOSS technologies than many other clusters of developing countries. The goal of SEOCA is to promote European GEO-techlogies in the region of Central Asia as a platform solution for the regional development challenges. The project intends to take a significant step towards deeper integration of organisations from Central Asia into the activities of GEO.

SEOCA in brief

Project Acronym: SEOCA
Project Reference: 244176
Start Date: 2010-03-01
End Date: 2012-02-29
Duration: 24 months
Contract Type: Support actions

Project information

The project aims at further fostering cooperative ties between the countries of Central Asia and Europe in developing and applying Earth Observation (EO) technologies for effective environmental monitoring.

It  intends to take a significant step towards deeper integration of respective organizations from Central Asian countries into the activities of GEO.

The project sees its mission and overall objective to further strengthen the cooperation between Europe and the countries of Central Asia within GEO by implementing a coherent set of activities aimed at building GEO-related capacity in the domain of Earth Observation in the target countries. This global objective will be attained by pursuing the following operational objectives:

  • Objective 1. To assess the status quo in all Central Asian countries in the view of existing needs, technical and economic capacities, potential stakeholders/providers and their requirements (along the lines of the 9 Social Benefit Areas of GEOSS). As a result of attaining this objective the project will develop a set of National White Books “National needs and capacities in the domain of Earth Observations” (tentative title) highlighting the following:

    • Most important economic, environmental, etc. area where EO data is needed
    • Existing and prospective national policies, legislation, initiatives, projects
    • Major national stakeholders with specifications of their requirements
    • Existing providers with their technological expertise, infrastructure and other capacities
    • Gaps and Needs analysis
The documents will be developed by the working groups comprising European and local experts to be made available for local authorities, European organizations (users/providers), other interested entities.
  • Objective 2. To roadmap the future national/international activities in the domain EO targeted at capacity building in GEO. The roadmaps to be developed for all Central Asian countries will include time-bound and detailed specifications of the activities to be undertaken in conjunction with national economic and S&T strategies and in the context of planned international GEO-relevant initiatives (10-Year Implementation Plan of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS); The Seville Roadmap - Mobilizing Resources for Implementing GEOSS), milestones with the lists of indicators to be achieved, players (stakeholders/providers) concerned, etc. These documents will be designed in order to help national authorities in strategic planning, including resources appropriation.
  • Objective 3. To implement the Capacity Building and Brokerage Programme in all the target countries to significantly increase the regional capacity to participate in the running and planned GEO activities. The Programme will include a series of training events in support of EO capacity building, thereby providing a base of technical expertise for GEOSS, including the domain of environment/climate monitoring. A regional University Conference “Towards new Curricula in the field of Earth Observation and Geo-information technologies” will be organized in Uzbekistan. Also, a regional brokerage event will be organized to bring together interested European and local providers/stakeholders/donors and stimulate bi-regional cooperation. To create a sustainable regional network of national consulting GEO offices (based on the project’s partner organizations and, potentially, able to grow to the status of a national GEO point) in charge of coordination, monitoring and evaluation of efficacy of further capacity building efforts. As a result, in every target country a national GEO office will be set up, linked and promoted, in order to stimulate and coordinate GEO capacity building activities on the national level, serve as a “single entry” for international activities, carry out monitoring and evaluation.
  • Objective 4. To set up a pilot regional infrastructure for gathering and spreading the environmental data. In order to demonstrate the benefits of cooperation and possible solutions based on GEOSS technologies, the project will set up the pilot network of low-cost terminal to enable access to the European system EO data exchange (GEONETCast terminals). A pilot regional database of surface waters quality observations will be developed and made accessible through GEONETCast. These facilities will be used for demonstration and training purposes in the course of training workshops. Besides, the project will set up and run the regional users’ forum to enable wider dissemination and cross-fertilization.
  • Objective 5.  To raise awareness of the benefits the cooperation within GEO can bring to all stakeholders, disseminate the project findings to relevant target groups, build liaisons and find synergies with other relevant initiatives and projects.


  • mapping of regional needs, capabilities, stakeholders, providers and planning further GEO CB activities in the region for the period until 2020
  • pilot GEO capacity building programme incl. training for stakeholders, reforming educational standards, direct brokerage between stakeholders and providers, etc. - setting up regional network of GEO offices in all 5 countries
  • pilot regional GEONETCast network - systemic dissemination and networking activities aimed at promoting GEOSS technologies in the region, building synergies with other relevant initiatives. As a result the consortium expects that SEOCA will radically increase acceptance of GEOSS technologies by regional governments for national environmental services, meteorology, natural hazards prevention, geological explorations, etc. Moreover, the project will lay a foundation for long-term GEO CB activities in the region

Project Partners


Organisation Name





Technical University Berlin, Aerospace Institute





Engineering, Consulting and Management Office

ECM Office




TUBITAK UZAY, Uzay Teknolojileri Arastirma Enstitusu





JeoDijital Bilisim Teknoloji Madencilik Insaat Sanayi ve Ticaret Limited Sirketi





Aratos Technologies S.A.





GIRAF PM Consultants





Hydrometeorological Research Institute of the Centre of Hydrometeorological Servise on Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan





The State enterprise “Center of remote sensing and GIS technologies”





Tashkent State Technical University named after Abu Raikhman Beruni





Joint-stock company “The National Center of Space Researches and Technologies”






L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University





Agency of hydrometeorology on the Ministry for Emergency Situation  of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan





State Agency of hydrometeorology of the Republic of Tadjikistan





National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna of the Ministry of Environment Protection of Turkmenistan





The project consortium integrates 14 partners, which is a significant number for CSA actions of that scale. At the same time, every partner has its own and clearly delineated area of responsibility, the internal organizational structure ensures that decision-making and conflict resolution will be effective, workflows and exchange of information and results between partners will be smooth and fast.

From the content point of view the consortium has 2 distinct groups of partners: expertise providers (European part of the consortium) and expertise recipients (Central Asian partners). Inside each group, there are partners with specific areas of expertise and responsibilities. For instance, TUBerlin, TUBITAK, ARATOS and JeoDijital are content providers with core expertise in EO technologies, while ECM Office and GIRAF will provide mainly organizational and structuring support to the project implementation. Similarly, on the Central Asian side there is a group of partner with similar functions to be carried out in every country of the region (like mapping and roadmapping, GEO offices and GEONETCast nodes set up, etc.), while there are partners with particular roles addressing the project or the region as a whole (for instance, TSTU and ENU will match TUBerlin to cover educational aspect of GEO CB in the region).

When it comes to the regional representation in the consortium, the Central Asian partners:

  • represent all countries of Central Asia;
  • represent major governmental organizations in charge (by law) of EO information handling on the national and international level (access to local information and entry for incoming data)
  • represent the regional RTD community in the field of Environment, Space, other areas where EO is a critically important component of research
  • represent the regional University community training students in EO-relevant areas.


Dr. Arnold Sterenharz
Project Management Director

ECM-Office Berlin
Büro Duisburg,
47167 Duisburg, Germany
Tel:    + 49 203 349 8167
Fax:   + 49 203 728 5966