Group On Earth Observations banner Group On Earth Observations banner

GEO Data Sharing Principles Implementation

The GEOSS Data Sharing Principles

One of the first accomplishments of the Group on Earth Observations was the acceptance of a set of high level Data Sharing Principles as a foundation for GEOSS. Ensuring that these principles are implemented in an effective yet flexible manner remains a major challenge. The 10-Year Implementation Plan says "The societal benefits of Earth observations cannot be achieved without data sharing" and sets out the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles:

  • There will be full and open exchange of data, metadata and products shared within GEOSS, recognizing relevant international instruments and national policies and legislation;
  • All shared data, metadata and products will be made available with minimum time delay and at minimum cost;
  • All shared data, metadata and products being free of charge or no more than cost of reproduction will be encouraged for research and education.

White Paper, Implementation Guidelines and Action Plan

Successive GEO Ministerial meetings and Plenaries have taken clear commitments to implement the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles:

As part of the implementation of the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles, a team of experts worked on the GEO Work Plan Task on GEOSS Data Sharing Principles DA-06-01 under the leadership of the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) of the International Council for Science (ICSU). The team drafted a White Paper that provides an overview of international data sharing laws, principles, and policies and recommends a draft set of implementation guidelines for the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles.

Following the successful initiation of this task, the Cape Town Ministerial Summit in 2007 supported the establishment of a process with the objective to reach a consensus on the implementation of the Data Sharing Principles for GEOSS to be presented to the next GEO Ministerial Summit. By the request of the GEO IV Plenary in 2007, the Task team drafted a set of Implementation Guidelines that were presented to the GEO-V.

The GEO-V Plenary in November 2008 discussed the draft Implementation Guidelines and created a GEOSS Data Sharing Task Force to support GEO in its objective to reach a consensus at its 2010 Ministerial Summit on the practical steps to implement the Data Sharing Principles. The Data Sharing Task Force worked to refine the draft Implementation Guidelines and presented the draft to the GEO-VI Plenary.

The GEO-VI Plenary in 2009 accepted the Implementation Guidelines for the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles. In November 2010, the “GEOSS Data Sharing Action Plan” was accepted by the GEO-VII Plenary and incorporated into the “Beijing Declaration” adopted at the Beijing Ministerial Summit. This calls for the creation of the GEOSS Data Collection of Open Resources for Everyone (GEOSS Data-CORE), a distributed pool of documented datasets with full, open and unrestricted access at no more than the cost of reproduction and distribution. GEO Members are invited to encourage their data-providing organizations to make available datasets that fall into this category.



The GEO Data Sharing Task Force has been tasked to "identify the maximum possible datasets that qualify for the GEOSS Data-CORE and whose providers agree to make it available through GEOSS". The Task Force prepared correspondence to GEO Principals inviting them to update and extend their entries in the list of GEOSS Data-CORE datasets that were pledged at the Beijing Ministerial. Results from this call for information will be reported to the GEO-VIII Plenary in Istanbul, in November 2011. The Data Sharing Task Force is working closely with the Architecture and Data Committee to ensure that the updated GEOSS Common Infrastructure will provide an effective means for identifying GEOSS Data-CORE datasets and data services.

Related documents

please visit also the GEOSS Implementation page and the GEO key documents page.