Introducing LIFE CROLIS Advisory Board Members

Dr. Geoff Smith is a director and consultant at Specto Natura Ltd., a Cambridge, UK-based Earth Observation consultancy.

The consultancy enables and advises its clients on the delivery of useful, accurate and reliable environmental information from remote sensing / Earth Observation data by working at the interface between users, service providers and technology developers.

Dr. Smith, in a few short sentences, please introduce us to your professional career.

I have a strong background in the physical sciences and have obtained degrees in Environmental Science, Applied Geophysics and Remote sensing, image processing and applications. I also completed a PhD in imaging spectroscopy, studying the fundamental interactions of radiation with vegetation and other surface materials. These qualifications have led me to a career in the practical application of Earth Observation data within systems to measure and monitor the environment. With a particular focus on land cover, I have exploited technology in the management and execution of large and small scale environmental mapping exercises. I have worked in academia, government research and the private sector with links to UK, European and international organisations.

What were the key reasons for you to accept the role of a member of the LIFE CROLIS Advisory Board?

Around the turn of the century, I led the UK land cover mapping team as part of a government research agency which focused on the development of cutting-edge mapping products to support a broad range of environmental applications. Over the last two decades I have also been heavily involved in the developments around Copernicus (and its precursor GMES), providing input to both the Copernicus Space Component, mainly Sentinel-2, and the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS). I have helped design the product specifications for CLMS layers and been part of the UK’s contribution to the European CORINE Land Cover map. While the UK was still part of the EU, I represented it at the European Environment Agency (EEA) advising on land cover and have remained part of the EAGLE Group promoting the harmonisation and interoperability of Member State land monitoring information systems.

Based on my qualification and experience described above I have a strong desire to support the development of real-world application of Earth Observation that target environmental issues and ultimately address some of the key challenges facing humanity such as the climate and biodiversity crises. The aims of CROLIS are therefore well aligned to my own and I hope I can pass on my experience to the new generation of experts who are joining this field in what has been described as the gold age of Earth Observation. Pioneering projects such as CROLIS are attractive as they aim to build on this new era of EO data availability, but also integrate it into existing management systems at the national and international level. I am therefore honoured to be part of the CROLIS project advisory to both impart my experience and to see how such approaches can be deployed at the national level moving forwards.

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