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Evaluation Summary of the Earth Observation Business Line

What is the Earth Observation Business Line?

By observing the Earth from space, satellites provide essential information on ocean, ice, land environments, and the atmosphere. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA)'s Earth Observation Business Line (EOBL) encompasses a wide range of activities related to Earth Observation (EO), such as the design and operations of EO satellites, data handling, and the support and promotion of the development and use of EO technologies and applications.

About the evaluation

Covers the period from to .

Conducted by Science Metrix Inc. on behalf of the CSA in - in response to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Policy on Evaluation ().

The evaluation's purpose is to provide decision-makers and Canadians an evidenced-based, neutral assessment of the EOBL's value for money with respect to both the business line's continued relevance and performance.

The evaluation used a mixed-methods approach that combined qualitative and quantitative analyses which included:

  • Documents review
  • Key informant interviews with CSA staff and federal government user departments
  • E-survey to 102 funding and data recipients
  • Telephone survey with 25 federal government researchers
  • Three case studies
  • Five federal departmental profiles.

What have we learned?

The EOBL's objectives are consistent with both federal and departmental priorities and the program falls within the federal government's jurisdiction.

The EO satellites have generated and delivered a continuously increasing quantity of high-quality data and imagery to federal government departments and agencies. In line with its expected outcomes, the EOBL has supported EO stakeholders in the development of space-based solutions.

As the EO technology matures, there is opportunity for the EOBL to further support federal government departments and agencies, space industry and academia in order to respond to their needs for EO data and space-based solutions.

How can we improve the program?

  1. Review EO program outcomes in order to appropriately reflect the range of EO stakeholders in Canada and respond to their needs by providing access to a variety of EO data, including data from foreign satellites.
  2. Enhance the effectiveness of the applications program by reviewing its design and funding options to better support building EO data departmental user capacity and developing a competitive EO value-added space industry in Canada.
  3. Redesign and operationalize performance measurement tools in a more coordinated manner centralized within the EOBL, with the objective of generating accessible and useful performance data to support evaluation and senior EOBL management.

3 active or in development EO satellites between and

  • RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM)

630 Canadian and international projects funded or supported through EO data supply

  • Space industry 59
  • Federal departments 60
  • Academia 494

146 696 RADARSAT-2 scenes distributed between and

EO applications development projects with the Canadian space industry generated over $10M in revenue

EO data application fields

  • Environmental monitoring
  • Marine surveillance
  • Agricultural information
  • Disaster management
  • Infrastructure
  • Geohazards
  • Land use mapping

The EOBL produced good value with respect to use of public funds by contributing to the delivery of more effective programs and services by the federal government departments and agencies supported by the EOBL.

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