Engineering For Humanity Through GEOSS



Photo of JASON2 Image JPL/NASA

Overview of the IEEE Committee on Earth Observation (ICEO)

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ICEO supports the GEO Vision for GEOSS: to realize a future wherein decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed via coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations and information.

  • GEO is focused on problem solving, not on data and distribution. GEO has identified nine societal benefit areas that maintain participation of high level government ministers.
  • GEO has a 10 year GEOSS implementation plan with milestones at 2, 6 and 10 years. Early implementation is focused on infrastructure and requirements definition. Near term user focus is on applications for all regions with emphasis on developing country.


Group on Earth Observations

The intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is leading a worldwide effort to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) over the next 10 years. GEO) comprises 68 countries, the European Union, and 46 participating organizations, including the IEEE. GEO is established on a voluntary and legally non-binding basis, with voluntary contributions to support activities.

GEO is addressing nine societal benefit areas: agriculture, disaster mitigation, weather forecasting, understanding the impact of the environment on health, management of energy and water resources, responding to global climate change, management of ecosystems, and biodiversity conservation.

The GEO was formally established at the Third Earth Observation Summit in February 2005 to carry out the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan. Prior to its formal establishment, the Ad Hoc GEO (established at the First Earth Observation Summit in July 2003) met as a planning body to develop the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan.

GEO is leading a worldwide effort to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) over the next 10 years. GEO will work with and build upon existing national, regional, and international systems to provide comprehensive, coordinated Earth observations from thousands of instruments worldwide, transforming the data they collect into vital information for society.

To achieve GEO’s goal of developing GEOSS, there is a need for key technologies that can build and support information and decision making infrastructure on levels ranging from global to local. These technologies – in communication, information processing, and environmental measurements – span the IEEE’s portfolio of technical expertise and form the technical basis for creating and sustaining GEOSS. There is also a need for education, outreach and planning for applications to ensure the realization of the intended societal benefits.

IEEE support of GEOSS

IEEE Delegation to Capetown

The IEEE Committee on Earth Observation (ICEO), established in 2004, provides a focal point for IEEE in its support of GEO.

Through its participation in GEO, the IEEE will become an important organization is solving global Grand Challenges. Further, IEEE’s participation provides exciting opportunities and challenges for its members. Their expertise in electro- and information technologies and associated Earth and environmental sciences and their world-wide distribution provides exactly the support that GEO needs from our organization as it develops GEOSS.

Through GEO, the IEEE will promote the roles of its members in electro- and information technologies and associated Earth and environmental sciences to the broad global community of Earth information providers and users. The means for promoting Earth observation technology and its benefits will include IEEE-sponsored conferences, workshops, and publications that are accessible to both IEEE members and non-members, and specifically directed toward potential new members within the international Earth data community. This initiative thus provides a key means by which IEEE can reach out to a large segment of the global public who are users of the electrotechnology that is the result of IEEE members’ inventiveness. Special attention will be given to developing countries where both the knowledge base and necessary infrastructure for GEOSS participation are lacking. IEEE is moving to address the grand challenges of our modern world, in health, water, power and other areas that set the foundation for an improved standard of living. ICEO will provide a path for our membership to participate in a major global initiative which needs the technology base that IEEE and its members offer.

In summary, the ICEO objectives directly address the IEEE mission statement: “The IEEE promotes the engineering process of creating, developing, integrating, sharing, and applying knowledge about electro- and information technologies and sciences for the benefit of humanity and the profession.