Wallonia, the southern region of Belgium, has been involved in the association of European regions using Space (NEREUS) since the beginning of the story with the FP7 project (ERA-STAR) led by Wallonia (2004-2009). The question behind the project was “how to develop the use of satellite data (Earth observation, Geo-positioning, Telecom, etc.) by European regions” and therefore how to increase the activity of companies and Research Centres, which use these technologies and develop new services.
For years, the “Skywin Wallonia” cluster has been in charge of representing Wallonia in Nereus. Skywin gathers a group of companies, universities, education centres and public research institutes engaged in public and private partnerships. Skywin members develop synergies around common and innovative projects in Wallonia.
Skywin was established in 2006 by the Walloon regional government and represents some 7,000 direct jobs and more than € 1,6 billion in revenue, exporting more than 90% of its products. Skywin counts more than 150 members including more than 90 SME’s. The Walloon Aeronautics Industry (1350 M€, 5500 employees) is mainly focused on Aircraft Engines and Structure, Equipment, Simulation and Training. More information on Skywin’ space activities and actors: www.skywin.be
(space brochure, insert link: http://www.skywin.be/sites/default/files/kcfinder/329-pierre-jean.fondu%40skywin.be/files/SKYWIN%20aerospace.pdf )
Under the impetus of the workshops organised by Skywin and ISSeP (through the Earth Observation Working Group, Insert link: www.gteo.be) with the Walloon administration, the latter has further developed the use of satellite data in its daily work and applications. Informed through these workshops of Nereus activities, the Walloon administration wanted to increase the interactions with NEREUS.
Also, the various Walloon administrative services departments which use Space technologies came together in a working group called the GTCOWAL (Insert link : https://geoportail.wallonie.be/gtcowal) led by the Geomatics Department of the Public Service of Wallonia (SPW). These departments of administrations participated, jointly or separately, in many Nereus activities during the last years (Space Girls Space Women Exhibition in Wallonia).
These different actors have synthesised three years of collective work by more than 140 participants from the various associations and working groups in Wallonia. They bring together a set of 14 recommendations (Insert link: https://www.issep.be/wp-content/uploads/GTEO_PositionPaper2019_EN.pdf)) on the use of EO data from satellite, airborne and UAV technologies for the benefit of tomorrow’s digital Wallonia. They are willing to share this experience with other Nereus Regions.