French agency broadens earth monitoring with SIRS acquisition

CLS provides environmental services based on data from satellites and some 80,000 sensors on ships, floating buoys and animals (CLS/Charlie Bost)

18 September 2017

Toulouse-headquartered environmental monitoring and surveillance agency CLS (Collecte Localisation Satellites) has acquired SIRS (Systèmes d’Information à Référence Spatiale), another French company specialising in the production of geographical data from satellite and aerial optical images. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CLS is focussed on oceanographic services ranging from maritime safety to fisheries management based on data from satellites and some 80,000 sensors on ships, floating buoys and animals. SIRS services cover forestry, agriculture, hydrology and urban development. CLS chairman Christophe Vassal describes the pair as “extremely complementary” and underscored SIRS’s “expertise in the field of optical satellite data”.

Says SIRS chairman and founder Jean-Paul Gachelin: “The [CLS] group shares our values and we have the same goal, which is to improve our understanding and management of the environment in order to make Earth a sustainable planet.”

SIRS, created in 1989 and located near Lille, offers mapping services, for example supporting Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy by showing the occupation/use of farm land, which helps set subsidies, or helping water authorities with real-time river management. SIRS also provides emergency mapping in the event of flooding, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, etc.

CLS is a subsidiary of France’s CNES space agency and IFREMER oceanographic research institute, and private investment company Ardian. The CLS Group had a turnover of nearly €115 million in 2016 and forecasts revenues of more than €125 million in 2017. It has 25 sites around the world and in February acquired Massachusetts-based environmental, scientific, and engineering consulting Woods Hole Group.