May 29, 2018

Global Space Applications Conference 2018

The Global Space Applications Conference, GLAC 2018, took place in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 21 to 23 May 2018. This was the first event to be held in South America as part of the International Astronautical Federation's (IAF) Global Conferences series, and therefore the inaugural IAF event in Uruguay. GLAC 2018 was co-organised by the Centro de Investigación y Difusión Aeronáutico Espacial (CIDA-E), which has been a part of the IAF since 1985 and is one of the 10 federation members in South America. Uruguay's Defence Minister Jorge Menéndez opened the event. Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, also spoke during the opening ceremony in her capacity as IAF Vice-President for Communications, Publications and Global Conferences.

The international user community for satellite-based data has achieved significant progress with regard to planning and developments since the GLAC 2014 in Paris. Aerospace applications make an essential contribution to a stable society, economic growth and citizens' well-being. Progress in aerospace application technologies can and must be used more consciously. This includes more efficient deployment in agriculture and maritime settings, as well as measures to monitor climate change and the protection of natural resources, to name just a few issues.

This year's conference was therefore used as an opportunity for stocktaking and to provide an outlook for the future use of aerospace at global level. It also addressed issues of sharing programmatic, technical and political information in the interest of developing joint solutions. Another focus was placed on the development of emerging aerospace nations like Uruguay.

Participating in a high-level panel on the topic of 'Space Applications for Socio-Economic Growth', Ehrenfreund stated that "German Earth observation companies are among the best in the world. By cooperating with German IT companies, the potential inherent to Big Data and cloud computing can be exploited to develop new applications and markets for Earth observation."

DLR made other contributions to the conference programme as well: Gunter Schreier, responsible for business development and coordination of Copernicus at the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) within DLR, gave a keynote speech on the 'Presentation of Natural Resources through Space', during which he outlined the project 'RIESGOS - Multi-risk analysis and information system components for the Andes region', which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Within this DLR-coordinated project, 13 partners and associated partners work on innovative scientific methods for the assessment of various natural hazards and risks, including the issue of dynamic exposure and vulnerability, as well as the modelling of cascading effects and possible incidents. Within this framework, RIESGOS is already cooperating with more than 25 research partners and government agencies in the South American partner countries of Chile, Ecuador and Peru. There are plans to expand this cooperation over the course of the project.


Marc Jochemich

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
International Relations
Head of DLR Washington Office
Linder Höhe, 51147 Köln