The aim of G-SEXTANT was to develop a portfolio of Earth Observation (EO) products and services to support the geospatial information needs of EU External Action users and stakeholders, such as the European External Action Service. Building on the lessons learned in previous projects, such as G-MOSAIC, G-SEXTANT enhanced existing services through continued R&D and on the basis of user needs identified during the course of the project.
G-SEXTANT was focused on the technologically non-mature services developed within the G-MOSAIC project.
The goals of G-SEXTANT can be summarised as follows:
- The preparation and delivery of pre-operational services, developed in the context of user-driven Support to External Action (SEA) scenarios;
- The enhancement of products and services, as requested by users;
- The development of a standardised portfolio of products and services.
The G-SEXTANT project addresses the following scenarios:
- Humanitarian Crisis;
- Natural Resources;
- Land Conflict Situation Awareness;
- Monitoring of Nuclear Sites and Activities;
- Illicit crops;
- Border Surveillance.
The G-SEXTANT project takes into account the skills and experience of the various stakeholders involved: industry (in terms of production and implementation capacity), academic and research organisations (in terms of scientific expertise), and EU bodies and institutions (in terms of coherence with existing policies and operations, and access to intelligence data). Finally, the feedback of the users will be taken into account during the production and design phase in order to enhance the final products, so that the impact of the project on the Security user community canbe analysed.
Consideration of ethical issues in the G-SEXTANT project
‘Ethics might seem a very abstract concept, but, confronted with reality, ethics becomes the challenge to do what ought to be done’ .
This quote from the European Commission’s report 'Ethics for Researchers. Facilitating Research Excellence in FP7' is at the heart of the efforts of the G-SEXTANT project consortium in identifying, addressing and solving any ethical issues that may arise in connection with the domains of application and research related to the project itself. In accordance with the official EU guidelines, ethical issues are largely overlapping with human rights as defined in the EU treaties.
Even prior to the commencement of the project, the G-SEXTANT consortium identified specific areas where ethical issues could arise that require special attention:
• Military use/potential military abuse (dual use aspects)
• Research in non-EU countries with regard to authorisation of research as well as benefit-sharing
• Secondary data (results of the G-SEXTANT project) use
• Privacy and personal data protection (related to the use of volunteers, interviewees, etc. in the project).
These issues are being dealt with by the consortium partners (through the Ethics Advisory Board - EAB) and an Independent Ethics Expert (IEE) according with the requirements of the European Commission’s relevant services.
The work carried out so far has helped to map the potential issues in order to develop procedures to mitigate any risk.