Global Earth Observation System of Systems
Type of Structure: network / framework activity
Regional Scope: global
Parent Organisations: 47 nations, the EU and 25 international organizations
Child Organisations:
Duration : 2002 to present
Contact Address: Prof. José Achache
Rue du XXXI Décembre 50
1207 Genève

e-Mail: jose.achache(at)

General information and objectives

47 nations, the EU and 25 international Organizations presently signed a political commitment to develop this comprehensive, coordinated and sustained Earth observation system. Many of the key global observing systems are part of to this project.

GEOSS focuses on 9 topics where clear societal benefits can be derived:

  • disasters
  • health
  • energy
  • climate
  • water
  • weather
  • ecosystems
  • agriculture
  • biodiversity

Some of the societal benefit topics are themselves complex clusters of issues, with many and varied stakeholders. In each topic area there are observational needs for many variables, with requirements for their accuracy, spatial and temporal resolution and speed of delivery to the user. It is also clear that there is considerable commonality of observation needs among societal topics. This is the powerful argument for implementing GEOSS.

The societal benefit areas are at widely varying levels of maturity with respect to establishing user needs, defining the observation requirements, and implementing coordinated systems. For example, the weather area is very mature while the health area is relatively immature in the context of Earth observation. In the former case, the activities to be undertaken under the auspices of GEOSS are largely in the areas of data sharing, advanced products and the coordination of future technologies. In the latter case, GEOSS activities commence with assisting the users to define their requirements, which in turn will lead to better use of existing data in the mid-term and new operational coordinated observation systems and synthesis products only towards the end of the initial 10-year GEOSS implementation period.

It is anticipated that each of the nine topic areas will evolve over time and it is also probable that entirely new topic areas may be added, in time. Mechanisms are established in later sections of this Plan to allow for orderly growth, review, and revision.

Last update: 11/1/10
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)

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