Plenary 5: Big data – Information Society

11:00 – 12:30, Popov Room

Big data is a term for data sets which are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. The associated challenges include data analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualisation, querying and information policy. The trend of storing more and more data in digital form is unbroken: While 1986 saw an amount of 2.6 Exabytes (= 2 600 000 000 000 000 000 bytes) being stored worldwide in the form of books, articles, film, videotapes (digital media had share of 1% by then), 2007 saw that number to increase to 299 Exabtyes, whereby digital media make up for 94% of the global storage capacity. Space is affected by big data in numerous ways; in that it is:

  • a producer of big data sets – e.g. the European Earth Observation and Monitoring System Copernicus;
  • confronted with the transmission of big data sets – e.g. Satellite Communication Systems – and
  • itself a user of big data sets – e.g. by multi-temporal data analysis, data management and information extraction technologies.

Finally space systems are the only systems that can readily offer ubiquitous communication – e.g for the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and Machine to Machine Communications – and are often the only way of ensuring a cost-effective access to global communication – especially in rural areas. Under such conditions, issues like data availability, privacy and security become extremely important. This panel is to address the opportunities and challenges that come along with the use of big data from, with and for space systems. Renowned experts from the EC, ESA, the Italian Space Agency, EUTELSAT, the University of Vienna and a well-known law firm in Cologne will provide insights into the ongoing discussions and will present options and ways ahead to better utilise the benefits of big data for the human society.

  • The role of satellite communications in the information society
  • Big Data and Satellite Remote Sensign
  • Privacy
  • Security


Expert for emerging technologies, European Space Agency (ESA)



Director General, European Space Agency (ESA)



Former President, Italian Space Agency (ASI)



Founding partner, BHO Legal



Director of the Future Satellite Systems, Eutelsat

Irmgard MARBOE

Professor of International Law, Head of the National Contact Point for Space Law, University of Vienna


Head of Unit for Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth, European Commission



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