In Geneva on January 17, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) received unanimous endorsement to unleash the power of open data for a second decade. There was an agreement to continue building on the organization’s first 10 years of pioneering environmental advances, which are designed to improve the quality of life for people everywhere. Fuelled by open data, GEO’s efforts are now evident in most regions of the world.
GEO is comprised of 90 member nations, the European Commission and 77 Participating Organizations. “GEO is successfully meeting its mandate, which is to make data and other information open, accessible and easy to discover for decision makers around the world”, said Mr. Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment. “GEO’s vision is now operational, a proven force for putting sound science to work across nine essential areas: agriculture, biodiversity, climate, disasters, ecosystems, energy, health, water and weather.”
GEO ”s mandate is to drive the interoperability of the many thousand of space-based airbone and in situ Earth observations around the globe. Without concerted efforts to coordinate across diverse observations, these separate systems often yield just snapshot assessments, leading to gaps in scientific understanding and hampering data fusion in support of better decision making for society. GEO aims to fill such gaps by providing a comprehensive, more integrated picture of our changing Earth. GEO is accomplishing this by establishing a Global Earth Observation System of System, known as GEOSS, and a portal through which data and other information can be easily accessed at little or no cost. GEO-X Plenary and the Geneva Ministerial were held from 12 to 17 January 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.