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Less clean, more green?

Vacuum cleaners are too powerful, according to the European Commission. They consume a lot of energy, that’s why the EC issued new regulation on the subject. Another stupid rule from Brussels? If you take a closer look at the Europe 2020 strategy it makes more sense: 20% less carbon emission, 20% more energy efficiency and 20% use of renewable energy, all to be achieved by 2020.

What does this mean for geospatial technology? A lot of monitoring with a spatial dimension will be required. In agriculture, for instance, not only production and productivity need to be increased, but there will be a focus on efficient use of resources and tracking of pollutants as well. This concerns inputs, such as water, soil and fertilizer, but also unwanted outputs, such as harmful surpluses of phosphorus and nitrates. GIS and sensor webs can play an important role in designing and retrofitting of more energy-efficient buildings.

Achieving the Green Economy will depend on how Europe can sell all this. Citizens care about the environment, but if measures look like just more new rules, the effort will not go very far. More marketing and better communication is therefore needed. The same applies to the promotion of geospatial technology: if you analyse the European documents you see that (perhaps with the exception of earth observation and sensors in an innovation context) little attention is given to what current geospatial technology can already do for monitoring, analysis and solutions.