Feb 07, 2015

EU survey on Earth observation in a global context: A public consultation on possible EU actions in relation to global coordination of Earth observations via the Group on Earth Observations (GEO)

Estimated Article Reading Time: 2 min.

Why this survey?

This survey builds on consultations conducted by the European Commission in 2013 and 2014 with the aim to provide the state of play regarding the implementation of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) during the last ten years. As an outcome of these previous consultations (see reference documents accessible from this survey), several preliminary issues and possible actions at EU level have been identified in view of accelerating the evolution of the GEOSS into a system that could effectively contribute to EU policies, generate business opportunities for the EU industry and bring benefits to European society as a whole.

Through this EU public consultation, the European Commission is actively seeking contributions by all those in Europe interested in the global context of Earth observation in order to help:

  • estimate general awareness of and stance on Earth observations (EO), GEO and GEOSS;
  • appreciate how to maximize EU benefits from an increased Earth observation coordination through GEO;
  • collect views on a set of possible actions at EU level in the field of global Earth observation and GEO.

Contributions are expected until 20/04/2015.

Background and reference documents

The Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and landscapes are changing rapidly, with human activities being a major driver. Monitoring and modeling these changes are critical because they allow governments, society and the private sector to make informed decisions about climate, energy, food security, natural hazards, health and other societal challenges.

Earth Observations (EO) are remote sensing or in situ measurements collected by a wide diversity of sensors on-board various monitoring platforms such as ships, buoys, aircrafts, balloons, drones, or satellites. They can also be ground-based or acquired by citizens using for instance their smart phones or other mobile devices. Such monitoring sensors and the related Earth observation information systems are managed by a high diversity of public and private entities around the world. For decades, this situation has led to a fragmented global landscape for Earth system monitoring.

Aiming at improving Earth observations, the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) provides a framework where governments and international organisations can develop new projects and coordinate their strategies and investments. GEO’s main role is to develop and implement a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) which aims to facilitate discovery, access and integration of global Earth observations in order to improve environmental decision-making. In January 2014, the Ministers and other heads of delegations from the GEO Member governments have resolved to continue the GEO voluntary partnership. They have decided to renew the GEO mandate for another period of 10 years. The next GEO decade (period 2016-2025) will be crucial in order to intensify use and exploitation of a more robust GEOSS and bring more benefits to the users of global Earth observations also to the European society.

Reference documents:

  • “The Commission Staff Working Document entitled “Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS): Achievements to date and challenges to 2025” (SWD 292 final of 25 September 2014)”:http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/10102/2014/EN/10102-2014-292-EN-F1-1.Pdf
  • “The Conclusion report of the Workshop “Engaging the Private Sector in GEOSS – A European Perspective” organised in Brussels in September 2014”:http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/horizon2020/document.cfm?action=display&doc_id=8583

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