CEOS Role for GEOSS
The intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations, GEO, was established by a series of three ministerial-level summits. GEO includes over 75 member countries (see http://earthobservations.org), the European Commission, and 51 participating organisations – including CEOS – which are working together to establish a Global Earth Observation System of Systems over the next 10 years. The establishment of GEOSS is guided by the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan. The GEO vision for GEOSS is to realize a future wherein decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed via coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations and information. GEOSS will build on and add value to existing Earth observation systems by coordinating their efforts, addressing critical gaps, supporting their interoperability, sharing information, reaching a common understanding of user requirements, and improving delivery of information to users.
The CEOS Virtual Constellations for GEO
In support of GEO objectives and as a space component of GEOSS, CEOS has developed the concept of virtual, space-based Constellations. A CEOS Virtual Constellation is a set of space and ground segment capabilities operating together in a coordinated manner, in effect a virtual system that overlaps in coverage in order to meet a combined and common set of Earth Observation requirements. The individual satellites and ground segments can belong to a single or to multiple owners. The Constellation concept builds upon or serves to refocus already existing projects and activities. The Constellations effort provides a unique forum to achieve political visibility and increase mutual benefit among space and other environmental agencies in support of cross-cutting GEO Tasks and Targets. In particular, they offer opportunities to share experience in the development of algorithms, standardize data products and formats, exchange information regarding the calibration and validation of measurements, facilitate timely exchange of and access to data products from existing and planned missions, and facilitate planning of new missions – ranging from coordinating orbits to optimizing observational coverage to sharing implementation of mission components.
CEOS SBA Teams
In order to improve the CEOS contribution to GEO, nine Societal Benefit Area (SBA) Teams have been set up. They address all the nine GEO SBAs except Biodiversity and the ninth team focuses on the transverse activities. The nine teams are composed of experts from the various CEOS Agencies. Each team is led by a CEOS SBA Coordinator. Those teams play a key role in the definition of the CEOS actions. This organizational structure allows both a closer monitoring of the progress in the execution of the actions, a more efficient response incase of problems and a more accurate reporting to both CEOS and GEO.