IEEE Committee on Earth Observation Standards Working Group (ISWG) is recruiting volunteers to build GEOSS

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Image of ICEO logoImagine a world where adoption of uniform standards for all manner of Earth observation systems and services made universal interoperability the rule, not the exception.

That world is one of the major goals of the IEEE Committee on Earth Observation Standards Working Group (ISWG), which is helping the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observation (GEO) to build GEOSS, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems.

The IEEE, represented by the IEEE Committee on Earth Observation (ICEO), is a member of GEO and contributes to many of its committees and tasks.

Dr. Siri Jodha Khalsa, the co-chair of the GEO Standards and Interoperability Forum, puts it this way: “The success of GEOSS will be measured by two things: improved access to the world’s Earth observation resources and the ability to combine, verify and analyze the data coming from those resources. Both critically depend on the adoption of open, international standards and best practices.”

To accomplish this goal, the international community of volunteers who comprise ISWG has been meeting regularly since May 2005, and in recent years through bi-weekly conference calls that last about an hour. The volunteers take on tasks as their schedules allow. ICEO recently issued a report on its accomplishments. As it moves forward, ICEO has a call for volunteers to participate as a team of experts to establish best practices for the taxonomies and ontologism of Earth Observation.

“Many of the issues faced by society are global or multinational, whether climate change or water availability or others. This requires information to be accessible and understandable beyond national boundaries. A key to true global collaboration is having common definitions and developing information in a consistent manner through best practices,” says Dr. Jay Pearlman, Chair of ICEO. “Having broad volunteer participation from all the regions of the world to develop a common “dictionary” is a high priority for creating the societal impacts envisioned for GEOSS.”

Steve Holt, a volunteer member of the ISWG, notes that further information about the tasks and accomplishments of ISWG is contained in “The IEEE Committee on Earth Observation Standards Working Group (ISWG) Quarterly Report.” [linked here] or available online at: You can then register for an IEEE web account to gain access to the ISWG site. If you wish to participate in the ISWG’s support of GEOSS, please send an email to If you wish to look at the volunteer opportunities available with other ICEO groups, you can go to