GEOSS: Observe, Share, Inform
European Geosciences Union
General Assembly 2011
4-8 April 2011
Douglas Cripe, GEO Secretariat
The Earth is a complex system of systems
Mankind has become a
Geophysical Parameter
Geophysics has become a
Political Issue
… Earth Observations are needed
to inform decisions
© GEO Secretariat
SPOT 4, 5
Orbview 2, 3
Remote Observing Systems
Landsat 7
In-situ systems
The Tower of Babel problem…
Need for:
• Earth observation
• Interoperable Architecture
and Formats
• Data Sharing
… to benefit fully from Earth
Observation Systems
GEO, the Group on Earth Observations
An Intergovernmental group with 86 Members and
61 Participating Organizations
U.S. Department of State, Washington DC
July 31, 2003
What is GEO?
• launched in response to calls for action by the 2002
World Summit on Sustainable Development, Earth
Observation Summits, and by the G8 (Group of Eight)
leading industrialized countries
• voluntary partnership of governments and
international organizations
– 85 member governments + EC
– 61 Participating Organizations (incl. IAG, IUGS)
• provides a framework within which these partners can
develop new projects and coordinate their strategies
and investments
• charged with developing GEOSS
What is GEOSS?
the Global Earth Observation System of Systems
an integrating public infrastructure, interconnecting a
diverse, growing array of Earth observing
instruments and information systems for monitoring
and forecasting changes in the global environment
supports policymakers, resource managers, science
researchers and other experts to support informed
decision making for society
10-year implementation plan
2015: Global, Coordinated, Comprehensive and
Sustained System of Observing Systems
• GEO comprised of Members governments and Participating
• Membership in GEO is contingent upon formal endorsement of
the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan.
• The GEO Plenary is the main body of designated
representatives of the Members and Participating
Organizations, and is GEO’s primary decision-making body.
• All members belong to a regional caucus (5), which nominates
members of the Executive Committee.
• The Executive Committee oversees GEO’s activities when the
Plenary is not in session.
– consists of 13 representatives elected from the 5 GEO
caucuses, including three each from the Americas, Asia and
Europe, two from Africa, and one from the Commonwealth
of Independent States.
– guides Secretariat
GEOSS Implementation requires:
Data Sharing Principles
• Full and Open Exchange of Data…
– Recognizing Relevant International Instruments
and National Policies and Legislation
• Data and Products at Minimum Time delay and
Minimum Cost
• Free of Charge or Cost of Reproduction for
Research and Education
GEOSS Implementation Requires:
Interoperability of Systems
Need for an Interoperable Architecture and Standard
Formats to benefit fully from Earth Observation Systems
Technical Specifications for Collecting,
Processing, Storing, and Disseminating Data
and Products
Based on Non-proprietary Standards
Defining System Compliance for Contribution to
…we will accelerate efforts within the Global Earth
Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), ... in priority
areas, inter alia, climate change and water resources
management, by strengthening observation, prediction
and data sharing. ... capacity building for developing
countries … interoperability and linkage …
To address the increased threats
of natural disasters and extreme
weather phenomena caused by
climate change, such as
increased flooding, storm
surges, droughts and forest fires,
we will act to improve risk
preparedness, prevention,
monitoring and response times,
particularly in developing
countries, by…
… supporting the ongoing work on the development
of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems
GEOSS: main objectives
Improve and Coordinate Observation Systems (avoid
Provide Easier & More Open Data Access
Foster Use (Science, Applications)
Building Capacity
Identify gaps in observations (based on user requirements)
…Earth Observation Systems should be
coordinated and shared internationally
… to answer Society’s need for informed
decision making
GEOSS: A Global, Coordinated, Comprehensive and
Sustained System of Observing Systems
Before 2015, GEO aims to:
1. Achieve sustained operation, continuity and
interoperability of existing and new systems that provide
essential environmental observations and information,
including the GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI) that
facilitates access to, and use of, these observations and
AR-09-03: Advocating for Sustained Observing Systems
e) Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS)
– Task leads: USA, ESA, and IAG
• Promotes further development of sustained infrastructure
needed to satisfy the long-term (10-20 years) requirements
for reference frames and the monitoring of global change
• Provides observations of variations in Earth shape, gravity
field and rotation, fundamental for monitoring of climate
and global change, depends crucially on globally sustained
geodetic ground networks.
• Provides foundation for EO through the global geodetic
reference frames (International Terrestrial Reference Frame
(ITRF) and International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF).
Data Management
Before 2015, GEO aims to:
2. Provide a shared, easily accessible, timely, sustained
stream of comprehensive data of documented quality, as
well as metadata and information products, for informed
DA-09-02: Data Integration and Analysis
c) Global Geodetic Reference Frames
– Task lead: IAG
• Ensure the availability of accurate, homogeneous, longterm, stable, global geodetic reference frames as a
mandatory framework and the metrological basis for Earth
• Identify steps towards consistent high-accuracy global
geodetic reference frames for Earth observation and the
observing systems contributing to GEOSS.
• Promote the use of common or interoperable reference
frames within GEOSS.
Before 2015, GEO aims to:
9. Enable the global coordination of observing and
information systems to support all phases of the risk
management cycle associated with hazards (mitigation and
preparedness, early warning, response, and recovery).
DI-09-01: Systematic Monitoring for
Geohazards Risk Assessment
a) Vulnerability Mapping and Risk Assessment
– Task leads: China (CENC, IES), France (BRGM), Greece,
(University of Thessaloniki), Italy (EUCENTRE, ISPRA),
UNOSAT, WMO; Geohazards Community of Practice (GHCP)
• Facilitate access to the remote-sensing & in-situ data
required to perform systematic geohazards vulnerability
mapping and risk assessment:
– (i) Retrieval, integration and systematic access to remote
sensing & in-situ data in selected regional areas exposed to
geological threats (“Supersites”); the initial objective will be to
dramatically enhance access to SAR data and integration of
InSAR & GPS data; and
– (ii) Development, testing and application of global seismic
vulnerability mapping to “Supersites” areas.
• Seismic hazard assessment: in-situ data related to
earthquakes environmental effects will be provided by a
catalogue compiled within international cooperation
framework INQUA (International Union for Quaternary
GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI)
Promotion of consistent standards and practices for
observations across all earth systems
consists of web-based portal, clearinghouse for searching data,
information and services, registries supporting access to GEOSS
components, standards, and best practices;
provide the framework and operational interfaces for
comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained observations of the
Earth system, including space, airborne and in-situ systems;
be constituted and populated by resources contributed from GEO
Members and Participating Organizations, who will make best
efforts to ensure sustained operation of the core components and
related information infrastructure;
maintain a process for interoperability that supports effective
access to, exchange of and use of data, metadata and products
across all GEOSS components, as identified in the appropriate
GCI registries.
What’s in it for scientists?
• GEO is a framework to promote international
– Earth observing systems of the future: built by
scientists, informed by GEO.
– bringing together data architecture experts,
scientists, users, and capacity-building
– visibility with data/networks/systems
contributed to GEOSS.
– potential support for research leading to
GEOSS implementation.
• but GEO is not a funding mechanism!
What’s in it for scientists?
GEO has a niche in facilitating the delivery of global
datasets to improve modeling.
• Virtual constellations
– precipitation
• Global land cover
– land surface imaging
• Digital geological map
– ocean surface
• Global meteorological
– atmopheric chemistry
and environmental
– ocean colour radiometry
– ocean surface vector
What’s in it for scientists?
• strengthen the delivery of environmental services
by advancing multi-disciplinary research
– high-resolution and seamless weather, climate
& Earth system modelling.
• Provide SBA focus for research
• GEO Label for quality assurance
• Citation Standard
• Continuity Indicators
“The Global Earth Observation System of
Systems (GEOSS) is a coordinating and
integrating network of Earth observing and
information systems, contributed on a
voluntary basis by Members and Participating
Organizations of the intergovernmental
Group on Earth Observations (GEO).”
•To support informed decision making for society
(including the implementation of international
environmental treaty obligations).
Thank you!