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GEO to build Global Agricultural Monitoring "System of Systems" to promote food security and predict market trends

Istanbul, 16 November 2011 – The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has announced that it is establishing a Global Agricultural Monitoring initiative to improve food security and market stability around the world, and particularly in vulnerable countries. The GEO Global Agricultural Monitoring initiative (GEO-GLAM) will bring together existing national and regional monitoring systems to establish a "system of systems" for monitoring global agricultural production and food security. This will require making these systems more compatible and interoperable, promoting common data standards, and strengthening transparency and data sharing. Read full press release here


GEO's role in climate, biodiversity, forests

Research Media recently asked GEO Secretariat José Achache about GEO's progress over the past year and the challenges it faces going forward. The interview can be viewed here.


GEO BON launches Implementation Plan

The Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) has released its detailed, 175-page Implementation Plan for a coordinated global campaign to gather and share information on biodiversity, provide tools for data integration and analysis, and contribute to improved environmental management and human well-being. For more information, see the Technical Summary, Detailed Implementation Plan, and press release.


GEO boosts access to data for Haiti earthquake

Time reports that GEO members are providing data making it possible to assess the geological forces that caused last month's devastating earthquake and to evaluate options for post-disaster reconstruction. "GEO is working to break through the bureaucratic logjams in which such data often become mired." Read more here.


Group on Earth Observations meets in Washington to strengthen access to data and information on biodiversity, forest carbon and other global issues

Co-chairs from China, European Commission, South Africa, United States

Washington DC, 17 November 2009 – The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is holding its annual Plenary meeting in Washington on 17-18 November to assess and promote progress towards making information about global environmental change readily available to policy-makers, managers and anyone else who needs it. Read full press release here


Comprehensive new global monitoring system to track deforestation and forest carbon

Governments, space agencies and organizations team up through GEO to integrate data and methodologies.

London, 19 October 2009 – Recognizing the need to reverse deforestation, which contributes almost a fifth of humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions, an international partnership of governments and organizations is building the first global monitoring system for producing annual assessments of forest carbon stocks (compared to the current five-yearly cycle). Read full press release here


CODATA newsletter examines GEOSS

CODATA interviews GEO Secretariat Director José Achache about data sharing and other GEO priorities in a special issue of its newsletter.


UNEP and partners to contribute Black Sea data to GEOSS

Geneva, 27 April 2009 - The UN Environment Programme, the University of Geneva, and 26 other partners, with funding from the European Commission, are adding an important system to GEOSS by deploying the latest observation and assessment technologies to monitor environmental trends in the Black Sea. See the UNEP press release here.


EARSC newsletter highlights GEO

The spring 2009 edition of the Earth Observation magazine of the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC) features an interview with GEO Secretariat Director José Achache about the progress being made by GEO in implementing GEOSS and engaging the private sector.


Tunis hosts seminar on water cycle in Africa

TUNIS, TUNISIA, 5 Jan 2009 - A four-day symposium on "The water cycle in Africa", which is part of a coordinated, comprehensive and sustainable earth observation programme, opened on Monday in Tunis as part of an intergovernmental cooperation programme, organisers said.

The programme consists of a 10-year plan (2003-2013) aimed at consolidating the Earth Observation Global Systems (GEOSS) agreed during the Earth Summit in Washington in July 2003. Read full article.


GEO announces free and unrestricted access to full Landsat archive

Universal availability of cost-free satellite data and images will revolutionize the use of Earth observations for decision-making

Bucharest, 20 November 2008 – In a breakthrough announced here today by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), scientists and decision-makers around the world will soon have unrestricted access at no charge to the Landsat archive, the world’s most extensive collection of continuously-acquired remotelysensed satellite imagery. “Remote-sensing satellites are impartial and essential recorders of the fast-moving story of the Earth’s changing surface,” said José Achache, Director of the GEO Secretariat. “Landsat’s nearly four decades of accumulated Earth imagery data will provide an historical record that, combined with continuous updates, will make it possible to interpret and anticipate changes to the Earth’s surface with far greater certainty than ever before.”

Read full press release


Bucharest conference to strengthen environmental monitoring of planet Earth

Bucharest, 14 November 2008 – Some 300 officials from the Group on Earth Observations’ member governments and organizations are meeting here on 19 and 20 November to plan the next three-year phase in the construction of a new global monitoring network that will support science-based decision-making about environmental risks and opportunities.

The Global Earth Observation System of Systems, or GEOSS, is linking together the world’s diverse monitoring networks, instruments, data bases, models and other decision-support tools into one fully coordinated “system of systems”... Read full press release


José Achache [photo: Joerg Reichardt]  
José Achache
[photo: Joerg Reichardt]

Captain Calamity Crunches Data for Global Warning System

Talk about a high-pressure job: Network the world's environmental sensors, build a system to integrate the petabytes of data they produce, and, oh yeah, pull it all together to predict when disasters (like Katrina's siblings) are about to strike. French geophysicist José Achache is one lucky geek.


Earth is peppered with high tech monitoring hardware—from polar-orbiting satellites to instrument-laden buoys. Problem is, they're all operating in Babel-style disconnect. "We're spending billions a year on observation systems," Achache says. "But because of our fragmented approach, we're suboptimal." Achache—whose resume includes such nerdeaucratic posts as deputy director general of the French space agency and director of Earth observation at the European Space Agency—is leading the Global Earth Observation System of Systems, a 10-year endeavor to link the data-collection tech of 74 nations. Crunch enough data, the thinking goes, and scientists will be able to create better climate models and forecasts (theoretically giving us a head start on nature's cavalcade of calamities). Read full article


Ghana Ready To Support Evaluation Of Africa's Ecological System

GHANA (Daily Graphic), 28 Oct 2008 - The Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, has expressed the country's readiness to participate in any initiative on the continent to build the capacities of professionals and institutions to develop decision support systems and relevant applications for the monitoring, management and evaluation of Africa's ecological systems.

Speaking at the opening of the seventh international conference of the African Association of Remote Sensing and the Environment (AARSE) in Accra yesterday, Alhaji Mahama said such applications were also necessary to enhance the effective management of natural resources on the continent for the benefit of present and future generations. Read full article.


Measuring air quality in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean

PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (The Associated Press), 30 Sep 2008 - Air quality in Central America, the Caribbean and southern Mexico will be monitored by specialists who can warn about the presence of smoke from forest fires or volcanic activity, using information gathered from satellites of the U.S. agencies NASA and NOAA.

The tool, part of "SERVIR-AIR", can be accessed on the internet and was launched during the Second Symposium on the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) held in Panama. The symposium was a huge success, with representation from 21 nationalities, 18 governments and 16 organizations... Read full article in Spanish. English translation will be available soon.


NOAA administrator leaving

WASHINGTON (AP), 24 Sep 2008 — Conrad C. Lautenbacher is resigning as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he announced Tuesday. Lautenbacher, who for nearly seven years has led the agency that forecasts weather and climate, studies the oceans and operates marine fisheries, will leave office Oct. 31.


He led U.S. efforts to create the Global Earth Observation System of Systems, which now includes more than 70 countries and 50 international organizations.

And he was instrumental in the development of a tsunami warning system in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans following the disastrous Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004

Read full artcile. See also NOAA website.


Bangladesh adopts long-time flood forecasting technology

BANGLADESH (TH), 18 Sep 2008 — Bangladesh Water Development Board has adopted a long-time flood forecasting technology to cope with the perilous impact of climate change.

Instead of existing 3-day forecasting technology, the long-time one consists of three types of forecast schemes: short term (1-10 days), medium term (20-25 days) and long term (1- 6 months), local daily The Independent reported Sunday.

Read full artcile.


Voluntary co-operation can work on global problems

Science and Development Network (IISD/MEA Bulletin) 15 Sep 2008 — The development of a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) demonstrates that voluntary collaboration between governments and international organisations can be an effective way to address some of the world's pressing scientific concerns, says Michael Williams.

GEOSS, which will provide better access to environmental change data and analysis — to help the fight against global warming, biodiversity loss and resource depletion — relies on a flexible form of governance embodied by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), says Williams, a spokesman for GEO...

Read article on Science and Development Network and full article in IISD/MEA Bulletin


Keeping watch on Planet Earth

(Energies - the totalgroup’s external magazine No14) At the 2003 Earth Observation Summit in Washington, around thirty governments adopted the G8 Evian proposal to bring all Earth observation systems under one umbrella to create a permanent and global set of indicators and monitor the Planet’s condition, natural phenomena and the changes caused by humans. This cooperative system for observation, measurement and forecasting, called the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), is now becoming a reality, bringing together different countries as well as disciplines and pooling already-existing observation infrastructure on all continents. A new tool to preserve Planet Earth?

Read full artcile.


G8 Declaration highlights GEOSS

HOKAIDO, Japan, 8 July — At the conclusion of its Summit meeting in Hokkaido, Japan, on 8 July, the Group of Eight industrialized countries emphasized its continuing support for GEOSS. Its Declaration on Environment and Climate Change stated that:

"To respond to the growing demand for Earth observation data, we will accelerate efforts within the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), which builds on the work of UN specialized agencies and programs, in priority areas, inter alia, climate change and water resources management, by strengthening observation, prediction and data sharing. We also support capacity building for developing countries in earth observations and promote interoperability and linkage with other partners."
You can read the entire G8 Declaration on Environment and Climate Change here.


US plans storm warning system for East Africa

GENEVA (AP), 25 June 2008 — Cell phone users in East Africa will be able to receive warnings when a storm is brewing thanks to a low-cost alert system U.S. scientists are hoping to set up in the next few years, officials said Tuesday.

The NextStorm system — a computer program that analyzes recent satellite images to predict where thunderstorms are likely to occur in the next hour — should be in place by the end of the decade, said Jacqueline Schafer of USAID told journalists in Geneva.

The U.S. development agency has already set up a similar system set to begin operating this summer in Central America together with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and local partners... Read full article on-line or download full text.


Central America gets new storm alert system

COSTA RICA (Daily News), 25 June 2008 — A new system of early forecasts for storms and bad weather, with alerts every 30 minutes, will be in operation this summer in Central America and southern Mexico, the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations announced.

The system, dubbed NextStorm, will provide short-term forecasts of powerful electrical storms or heavy rainfall likely to cause flooding. The news came while Costa Rica is still fixing up the damage in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Alma.

NextStorm represents “a major advance in putting earth observation data and other tools to work in protecting people and livelihoods in southern Mexico and throughout Central America,” GEO Secretariat director José Achache said... Read full article on-line or download full text.


The Full Picture, pdf, 18 MB  

Atlas of Africa’s Changing Environment demonstrates power of Earth observations

Geneva, 10 June 2008 - The Africa edition of the United Nations Environment Programme's “Atlas of our Changing Environment” highlights how modern Earth observation systems can support action to address humanity’s growing impact on the natural environment.


By comparing satellite images and ground photos of specific locations taken 30 years ago and then again today, the Atlas makes it possible to truly comprehend the decade-scale changes occurring in the African environment.


UNEP has presented the Atlas, which was released on 10 June, as a contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems. For more information and a link to the Atlas, you can download the full text .



Species Monitoring Seen Helping Slow Extinctions

Oslo, 10 April 2008 - A three-day meeting of 100 scientists and officials in Potsdam, Germany, will end on Thursday with a deal on building blocks for a "Biodiversity Observation Network" for animals and plants facing threats such as pollution or climate change... Download full text
For more information on the GEO Biodiversity Observation Network, see the GEO BON home page.