Earth Observation and Maritime Sector: how can they collaborate?

Few questions for Mr Tsafonias, Mr Sdoukopoulos, Ms Fraga Lago and Ms Fernandez Otero (coordinators of the MATES project) about the innovation in the maritime industry

4 min readFeb 22, 2019


  1. The MATES project aims to develop a skills strategy that addresses the main changing of the maritime industry, as shipbuilding and offshore renewable energy. What is the key takeaway, related to the MATES project, that you bring with you after the workshop held in Patras?

The methodological approach used in the project EO4GEO was of particular interest, as well as the insights from the supply and demand surveys and the findings regarding the actual demand analysis. This approach is a vital step towards the skills gap analysis and at some parts it is similar to the way that we have approached the same issues regarding the MATES project. Finally, in both sectors there is a need to create dedicated education and training programs with a more blended learning approach and to highlight the importance of soft skills, especially those that are common to multiple sectors.

The logo of the project

2. Could you propose two examples of how EO4GEO and MATES can collaborate concretely to bridge the gaps between the sectors?

EO4GEO and MATES could collaborate by sharing a connection of experts and sectoral know-how, especially in some overlapping parts: we are assembling a huge panel of external experts from EU, and some of the areas of expertise are very transversal. We can collaborate in the identification of experts for a particular field. Can EO4GEO do something similar?

Space images are very useful for outreach proposals. We could explore a possible collaboration for the development of material related to Ocean literacy (MATES will soon start planning a pilot experience related to the introduction of ocean literacy activities in schools, related with the industrial sectors of shipbuilding and ocean renewable energies). This work could take into consideration EO4GEO developments of Tools for teachers.

Keywords summarising MATES’ activity

3. Space technologies, such as Earth Observation, are increasingly being applied in other industrial sectors: how can this “trans-sectoral dimension” be included in sectoral curricula and related skills strategies? Provide on example for your sector.

This could be checked with the Thematic Groups that the project has launched, and taking part as a chat discussion of some of the groups. As a first approach, I can imagine a strong link between Earth Observation and offshore renewables energies sector (i.e. with the occupations related to the analysis of environment as oceanographer, environmental expert, renewable energy consultant, policy manager, etc). But we could explore what will happen if the shipbuilding sector will increase its connections with the Earth observation activity: will new vessels have to integrate any devices for the reception of images/data? Could they have to include new sensors to calibrate Earth observation information?

In the coming months we will define a Pilot Experience to provide occupation profiles for new sectoral & transversal skills: digital skills, green skills, marine renewables, offshore energies, robotisation, innovation management. Their Learning Outcomes will be assigned to the appropriate proficiency level in line with the repealed EQF, based on ESCO Ops. Maybe, in this Pilot Experience we could consider how the skills related to Earth Observation can be integrated.

About MATES:

The MATES project will run from 2018–2021 with an overall budget of €4 million. “MATES Maritime Alliance for fostering the European Blue economy through a Marine Technology Skilling Strategy” is funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ funding programme, as a Sector Skills Alliance’ Blueprint project.

MATES is coordinated by the Technology Centre of the Sea — CETMAR Foundation. The main objectives of the CETMAR Foundation is to promote cooperation among institutions, research centres and the maritime and fishery sectors, encourage the involvement of dependent sectors of the sea in research and development, and promote the efficiency of all activities related to the use and exploitation of the marine environment. More information is available at AquaTT is the project dissemination partner

The contributors:

Eleftherios Sdoukopoulos and George Tsafonias, from The Hellenic Institute of Transport, part of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH-HIT), Thessaloniki, Greece. They coordinate the skills intelligence analysis of the MATES blueprint project.

Lucía Fraga Lago and Rosa Fernandez Otero, from the Technology Centre of the Sea — CETMAR Foundation, Vigo, Spain, are joint coordinators of the MATES blueprint project.




An innovative strategy for skills development and capacity building in the EO/GI field