The Contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities
2.4.3 Defence In addition to the military responsibilities of protecting national territory, airspace and maritime areas of jurisdiction, defence organizations often support civil organizations in a variety of roles, such as emergency preparedness and disaster response. Most Arctic nations identify defence in their policies.
Earth Observation – EO can be used to produce maps and other real-time information products that allow hunters and fishers to safely bypass dangerous areas including ice ridges, moving ice or stretches of open water. With this additional information hunters/fishers are better able to plan the shortest and safest route to the ice-edge. The information is vital to augmenting traditional knowledge that previously guided travel routes, but which is now impacted by climate change, thus making it less reliable. 2.5.2 Health Health Care services and facilities are generally limited in the Arctic, and may be inaccessible or difficult to access by a significant proportion of the population, making the use of air transportation particularly critical. New services such as telemedicine are promising but require robust and reliable high bandwidth communications. A few Arctic nations reference health care as part of their policies. Communications – Requirements in support of health care include high-band width video and file transfer for telehealth, and reliable voice communications for the emergency transport of patients. 2.5.3 Education A few Arctic nations’ policies consider the education of northern residents. Communications – Access to broadband internet can facilitate distance learning, on-line courses, file sharing, video uploads and other on-line educational support tools. 2.5.4 Connectivity A few Arctic nations’ policies noted that modern communication technologies can support economic development, improve quality of life and strengthen cultural identity. Communications – The need for modern communication technology in isolated northern communities is considerable, and access to affordable, reliable, high-speed digital connectivity systems can play a decisive role in improving the lives of northern people and linking them to other communities. Space-based systems are among the best methods for providing communications across the vast, but sparsely populated, Arctic. Current demand below 75 ° N (in most cases) is being met by existing GEO systems. Above 75°N, there is a gap in coverage, with existing systems providing unreliable, limited capacity and low data rates. Most of the demand above 75 ° N will be from vessels and aircraft. Several systems are currently being explored to bridge this service gap that involve multiple satellites in highly-elliptical polar orbits. Many of these projects are scheduled for launch in 2015 to 2016 and beyond (e.g. Iridium NEXT, CASSIPE, KosmoNet, Inmarsat Global Xpress, PCW). Services may still require trade-offs between data speed and number of users (capacity). Technical verification of future systems is under review. 2.6 Satellite Systems 2.6.1 Communications
Communications – Robust and reliable communications systems support military operations.
Navigation – GNSS is important for military applications, and defence organizations typically have access to better navigation and positioning capabilities than do civilian users. Current use in the Arctic is primarily for military training exercises and disaster response. Earth Observation – Defence organizations use the full range of commercial EO imaging services and have access to classified EO technologies that are not accessible to civilian users. In the Arctic context, the primary EO applications are in support of wide-area surveillance efforts, military training exercises, emergency response to environmental disasters and search-and- rescue missions. 2.4.4 Maintaining Presence A strong presence in the Arctic enhances an Arctic nation’s ability to protect and monitor the land, sea, and air of their region, and demonstrate their sovereignty over the region. This policy objective is of a few of the Arctic nations’ policies. Communications – Affordable and modern communication technology helps to improve the lives of isolated northern communities. 2.5 Indigenous and Social Development 2.5.1 Traditional Livelihoods Preservation and respect for traditional ways of life are key priority areas in all of the Arctic nation’s policies and the European Union. Areas related to culture and traditional ways of life include the impacts of climate change on indigenous cultures, and the preservation of indigenous languages and traditional knowledge. Health and self-sufficiency are also areas of concern. Communications – Affordable and modern communication technology in isolated northern communities can play a role in improving the lives of northern communities. Satellite communication can be used to contact emergency services, increase contact among indigenous groups, strengthen feelings of identity, increase economic prospects, and increase indigenous peoples’ political participation. Satellite systems can also help ensure safe hunting and fishing expeditions. Weather – The need for accurate, timely weather forecasts to ensure safe travel (in particular on hunting and fishing expeditions) and to plan daily activities is important for inhabitants of northern communities. Navigation – GNSS has a positive impact on the safety of travel and enables navigation via the most efficient route, which is important in reducing travel time, fuel costs, equipment wear, and greenhouse gas emissions.
CONTRIBUTION OF SPACE TECHNOLOGIES TO ARCTIC POLICY PRIORITIES 14
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