GEO) is one group seeking to further this goal with a worldwide approach to data sharing and partnerships.Collaboration across borders is critical in addressing many of the environmental, social and technological challenges of the 21st century. The Group on Earth Observations (
Earlier this year, GEO released a catalog of anthropogenic impacts across the globe, called the Atlas of the Human Planet. This 137-page document represents the coordination of more than 40 years of data on an unprecedented international scale. The framework for this global collaboration in Earth sciences was developed through GEO. In November, GEO will meet to review such projects and develop new directions.
From Nov. 7-10, 2016, GEO will convene its annual plenary meeting, known as GEO XIII, in St. Petersburg, Russia, to consider how to best support the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Global Agenda.
This year GEO celebrates the beginning of its second decade as an organization. During the first decade, it often focused on the establishment of coordinated initiatives and building collaborations on an international scale.
In the next 10 years, GEO’s direction will include supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an important action component of the 2030 Global Agenda of the United Nations. GEO’s mission has always been to support informed decision-making by developing services and systems that support the coordination of Earth observation programs, and Earth observation data will be essential in understanding and seeking to address the SDGs.
GEO XIII will focus on this mission and potential contributions from the Earth observation community to the 2030 Global Agenda. The plenary will offer opportunities for sharing updates and guiding principles, while side events will cover topics ranging from new methods for pollution monitoring to the incorporation of citizen science in the Group on Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). Although diverse in some ways, these topics all share the common thread of reliance on improved data sharing and opportunities for partnership.
The St. Petersburg event will be hosted by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, and Roshydromet, Russia’s Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring. In his welcoming letter for the event, Alexander Frolov, head of Roshydromet, calls the GEO community “a unique forum for discussion” and expresses his anticipation that GEO XIII will help further understanding of numerous environmental phenomena.
IEEE Earthzine will provide live coverage of the event on Twitter, Facebook, and through regular Earthzine “Dispatch“ reports, as it has in the past. Throughout the week, scientists, policymakers, and decision-makers will work together in the hope of enhancing understanding of observation and monitoring networks.
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) was established in 2005 to offer an opportunity for international collaboration on the collection, dissemination, and use of Earth observation data. Driven by voluntary partnerships, the organization has grown to include 102 member governments and 103 participating organizations from across the globe. Its activities range from agricultural applications such as the GEOGLAM monitoring project to the coordination of the Global Forest Observation Initiative and the sizeable task of researching biodiversity in GEOBON.
Elise Mulder Osenga is IEEE Earthzine’s senior science writer.