Earth observation systems constitute an important dimension of the practice of environmental monitoring. These systems consist of tools that provide measurements of air, water, land and human resources. These measurements may be made on the ground, from the air, or from space by satellite. While these measurements have been observed historically in isolation, the current Global Earth Observing System of System (GEOSS) effort is designed to consider and analyze these elements together and to study their interactions.
The Global Earth Observing System of System (GEOSS) is a concept with potentially wide-reaching applications relating to human health, environmental quality and stewardship, disaster preparedness and recovery, and unification of humankind's varied interests, needs and wants.
On February 16, 2005, 61 countries agreed to a plan that, over the next 10 years, will revolutionize the understanding of Earth and how it works. Agreement for a 10-year implementation plan for a Global Earth Observation System of Systems, known as GEOSS, was reached by member countries of the Group on Earth Observations at the Third Observation Summit held in Brussels. Nearly 40 international organizations also support the emerging global network. The GEOSS project is designed to help all nations involved produce and manage their information in a way that benefits the environment as well as humanity by taking a pulse of the planet.
On April 6, 2005, the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy released the Final Strategic Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System. The Plan addresses nine societal benefit areas:
- Improve Weather Forecasting
- Reduce Loss of Life and Property from Disasters
- Protect and Monitor Our Ocean Resources
- Understand, Assess, Predict, Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Variability and Change
- Support Sustainable Agriculture and Combat Land Degradation
- Understand the Effect of Environmental Factors on Human Health and Well-Being
- Develop the Capacity to Make Ecological Forecasts
- Protect and Monitor Water Resources
- Monitor and Manage Energy Resources
On May 9-10, 2005, the U.S. Group on Earth Observations convened the "Integrated Earth Observation System (IEOS) Public Engagement Workshop: Continuing the Dialogue". IEOS is the U.S. contribution to GEOSS. Workshop presentations and follow-up on the findings of breakout groups are available at the external link shown below.
GEOSS is envisioned as a large national and international cooperative effort to bring together existing and new hardware (including Earth observation satellites) and software, making it all compatible in order to supply data and information at no cost. All subscribing nations have a unique role in developing and maintaining the system, collecting data, enhancing data distribution, and providing models to help all of the world's nations.
- Earth Observation Summit (July 2003)
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency GEOSS WebSite
- EPA Testimony on GEOSS before the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; United States House of Representatives. March 9, 2005
- Group on Earth Observations
- NOAA's Global Earth Observations System WebSite
- GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan
- Resolution of the Third Earth Observation Summit (As adopted 16 February 2005)
- European Space Agency Earth Observation Portal
- Infusing satellite Data into Environmental Applications
- NASA's Earth Observing System
- Final Strategic Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System