Engineering For Humanity Through GEOSS

GEOSS Workshop Barcelona 2007

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GEOSS Workshop Barcelona 2007

GEOSS Workshop Barcelona 2007
July 22, 2007
October 2, 2009

GEOSS Interoperability and Applications to Biodiversity

The following is a summary of a Workshop held in Barcelona, Spain, on July 22, 2007. This one day Workshop will focus on system architecture and interoperability for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). It is one of an ongoing series of IEEE-sponsored regional meetings across the globe in support of GEOSS*.


The Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is a complex system of sensors, communication devices, storage systems, computational and other devices used to observe the Earth and gather data needed for a better understanding of the Earth’s processes. In addition, GEOSS includes models and methods to create information from the observational data. The 2003 Earth Observations Summit established the objective “to monitor continuously the state of the Earth, to increase understanding of dynamic Earth processes, to enhance prediction of the Earth system, and to further implement our international environmental treaty obligations”.

The GEOSS Implementation Plan states that GEOSS will provide the overall conceptual and organizational framework for integrated global Earth observations to meet user needs. GEOSS will be a “system of systems” consisting of existing and future Earth observation systems, supplementing but not supplanting their own mandates and governance arrangements. It will provide the institutional mechanisms for ensuring the necessary level of coordination, for strengthening and supplementing existing Earth observation systems, and for reinforcing and supporting component systems in carrying out their mandates.

The emphasis of GEOSS is on societal benefits, initially in nine key areas. Sound management of the Earth system, in both its natural and human aspects, requires information that is timely, of known quality, long-term, and global. Interpretation and use of Earth observations requires information on drivers and consequences of change, including geo-referenced socio-economic data and indicators. The nine areas addressed in the implementation plan are:

  • Disasters: Reducing loss of life and property from natural and human-induced disasters
  • Health: Understanding environmental factors affecting human health and well-being
  • Energy: Improving management of energy resources
  • Climate: Understanding, assessing, predicting, mitigating, and adapting to climate variability and change
  • Water: Improving water resource management through better understanding of the water cycle
  • Weather: Improving weather information, forecasting and warning
  • Ecosystems: Improving the management and protection of terrestrial, coastal and marine resources
  • Agriculture: Supporting sustainable agriculture and combating desertification
  • Biodiversity: Understanding, monitoring and conserving biodiversityThe above societal benefit areas of the Implementation Plan are important for this IEEE GEOSS Workshop, and in particular biodiversity, are the focus of this GEOSS Workshop.
  • GEOSS System and Interoperability

    GEOSS is being built initially from existing systems and initiatives, with an emphasis on the creation of synergies among GEOSS components that provide increased benefits to society. Realizing such benefits will require the exchange of data and information between disparate data and information systems, an interoperability challenge of unprecedented magnitude. GEOSS components, their service interfaces and the standards employed to enable interoperability will be described in a set of registries and accessible through well-developed, publicly accessible, network-distributed clearinghouse and related web portals.

    Satellite observations are expected to provide much of the critical information needed to meet the nine societal objectives of GEOSS. Interoperability of satellite observations extends beyond data access and syntax issues to data quality assurance. which involves the incorporation of existing standards, and accommodation of accepted practices, inter-comparison of satellite observations, and inter-calibration of satellite radiometers. This is especially critical for climate related GEO tasks where long-term data sets must be stitched together from a series of overlapping satellite observations, and the climate signals to be detected are extremely small (for example, temperature trends of only a few tenths of a degree C per decade).

    About this Workshop

    This IEEE, CEOS (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites), OGC and ISPRS co-sponsored workshop, “The User and the GEOSS Architecture – GEOSS Interoperability and Applications to Biodiversity,” is the 14th in a series that will focus on the development of the GEOSS clearinghouse, web portals, standards and calibration of satellite systems. It will also address the issue of biodiversity – one of the nine societal benefit areas with example pilot studies in the Mediterranean region. It will bring together scientists and engineers with experience and interest in the interoperable engineering of very large scale systems of systems, and provide informal environment for exchange of implementation ideas and to make recommendations.. Key representatives from industry, academia, government, GEO, CEOS member space agencies, OGC, and other international organizations will be providing invited talks on these and related issues that impact GEOSS. Participants will be encouraged to develop consensus recommendations. Recommendations of the GEOSS Workshop will be available to the GEO committees developing GEOSS. In summary, the workshop is a forum for users to interact with technologists to address the engineering challenges of enabling a system of systems for Earth data and information for the benefit of society.

    The workshop will be held in association with the 27th International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS 2007). IGARSS is annual meeting of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS), and is being held in Barcelona, Spain, July 23-27, 2007. Details are available at

    *GEOSS (the Global Earth Observation System of Systems) reflects a global scientific and political consensus that information vital for societies requires comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained Earth observations. The GEOSS 10 Year Implementation Plan is directed by the Group on Earth Observations, an intergovernmental organization comprised of 69 countries, the European Commission, and 46 international organizations. (see )

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