In July, the GEOEssential Work Package 4 (WP4) members met in Frankfurt to discuss progress, establish collaborations, and define next steps to be taken. The event was organized by Aidin Niamir, Ricarda Prinz, Marta Gómez Giménez, and Thomas Hickler (BiK-F). This WP is based on five pillars: i) mapping the data landscape and data determination of EVs for Biodiversity and Ecosystems (led by CREAF); ii) species distribution and biodiversity indicators (led by GFZ); iii) ecosystem functioning and EBV indicators resilience (led by CNR), iv) strategies for supporting biodiversity policy needs (directed by MfN); v) development of input and evaluation data sets for process-based models (led by BiK-F); and vi) transfer of biodiversity and ecosystem essential variables and indicators to the GEOEssential Dashboard (driven by UNIGE).


In June, the SGN team of GEOEssential (Aidin Niamir and Marta Gómez Giménez) attended the workshop on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that Prof. Dr. Pedro Brancalion organized at the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, University of São Paulo. A group of researchers and policy experts met to discuss the status of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a global scale. In particular, we focused on the SDGs 6: clean water and sanitation, 14: life below water, and 15: life on land. The workshop aimed at analyzing how to report on areas with high potential for intervention to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The follow-up work will focus on defining hotspots based on the level of protection, threat, and importance of a certain area to achieve SDGs. This work could be used to outline a road map for prioritizing actions that pursue SDGs according to national environmental agendas.

The output of the workshop will be included in the reports of the Task 4.4 of the WP4.



As part of its educational activities, SMURBS accepted the invitation and delivered a seminar on “Exploitation of Earth Observation and Novel Observational Platforms for Smart City Applications” at the Physics Department of the University of Athens on May 24, 2018.

The audience was comprised of students of the Master on Environmental Physics Programme and members of the faculty. The specialization of the audience provided a prime opportunity for SMURBS to present its approach of integrating EO and smart city methods, to delineate the state-of-the-art across the EO platforms’ chain, to which the students can be eventually part of, and finally to highlight the particularities of the urban landscape concerning environmental pressures, EO specifications and links to policy and the citizenry.

In the last part of the seminar, a Q&A session was triggered, and feedback was provided by the audience, in a lively manner, concerning its view on environmental pressures for the city of Athens and qualitative criteria a smart urban solution should uphold. Finally, the students, as potential participants in a Citizens’ Observatory, offered their opinion on what such an initiative should ensure: ease of interaction, integrated in other daily routines or smartphone applications and strong perception of impact.



One of the main goals of the GEOEssential project is to create cross-thematic workflows to evaluate, predict and monitor natural resources to inform via Earth Observations the Sustainable Development Goals, and other relevant environmental policy at European and national scales. The GEOEssential workshop organized in 23 – 25 April, 2018, in Palma de Mallorca, was focused on practically defining and executing these cross-thematic workflows, using the Virtual Laboratory (VLab) – cloud-based platform, developed by one of our partners – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – CNR.



SMURBS partners participated in the 4th ACTRIS-2 General Meeting, held in Nafplio city, Greece. This annual meeting brought together more than 120 scientists , attending targeted central and poster presentations, exploiting the opportunity to learn about the new developments in the field of Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace gases Research InfraStructure.

ACTRIS-2 is a Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020-INFRAIA-2014-2015) . The ACTRIS-2 Integrating Activities (IA) addresses the scope of integrating state-of-the-art European ground-based stations for long-term observations of aerosols, clouds and short lived gases. It consolidates and improves services offered within FP7 funded Integrated Infrastructures Initiative ACTRIS (2011-2015). ACTRIS-2 takes up the overarching objectives of ACTRIS to further integrate the European ground-based stations and to construct a user-oriented RI, unique in the EU-RI landscape, for aerosols, clouds, and short-lived gas-phase species.




SMURBS organized its 1st citizen workshop hosted by Navarino Environmental Observatory in the pilot city of Kalamata, during April’s scientific café. More than 40 citizens participated in the event, sharing their needs and smart ideas, over a hot cup of coffee!

The coordinator delineated the main goals of SMURBS and the concept of integrating state-of-the-art Earth Observation methods with smart-city methods. He highlighted some major findings concerning user needs at the time of the Workshop and urged participants to step up, and offer their own ideas and of course giving emphasis on the local issues and particularities.

The discussion reaffirmed many of the user needs findings, further reinforcing this early but necessary activity of SMURBS and the level of engagement was more than satisfactory, as the citizen observatories activities regarding AQ was decided upon with great zest, in alignment with SMURBS plans for the role of Kalamata as a pilot city.



SMURBS partners participated in the European Geosciences UnionGeneral Assembly (EGU2018) held in Vienna Austria, 8-13 April 2018.

The EGU General Assembly 2018 was of great success with 4,776 oral, 11,128 poster, and 1,419 PICO presentations. 666 unique scientific sessions together with 68 short courses and 294 side events created an interesting programme.

Dr. Eleni Athanasopoulou presented the atmospheric implications of severe African dust transport events, which frequently cause air pollution and health-related problems in Southern European cities. You may find the abstract here and the poster here.




SMURBS  successfully organized the 1st Stakeholder workshop on User Needs,  held in Hamburg Germany,  27-28 March 2018.

Twenty five stakeholders from ten European cities, with affiliations ranging from public administration to the academia, gathered in Hamburg, on late March 2018 for a two-day workshop on user needs, towards the strategic planning of the design, implementation and delivery of the portfolio of Smart Urban Solutions of SMURBS, in the months ahead and up till the end of the project.

Smartphones and laptops were switched off, as the workshop focused heavily on the face-to-face interaction between the stakeholders and adopted the method of “World Café” table discussions per SMURBS theme, and of a plenary “fishbowl” discussion, where all participants had the opportunity to stir and enrich the conversation.