The CEOS Systems Engineering Office (SEO) has been consistently hosting CEOS Booths at major remote sensing community events, which serve as an essential platform for CEOS to showcase their work and initiatives to the broader Earth observation community as well as target stakeholders. The most recent Exhibition Booth was held during the 2023 Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Week, in Cape Town, South Africa, from 6-10 November 2023.
Organised by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and hosted by the Republic of South Africa, Science and Innovation Department, GEO Week 2023 aimed to showcase and discover solutions by sharing open knowledge, enhancing coordination, and developing tools and services that respond to specific global policy challenges. The week included the GEO-19 Plenary from 8-9 November and the GEO Ministerial Summit on 10 November 2023.
CEOS is a founding Participating Organisation of GEO, and is represented by the SIT Chair and CEOS Executive Officer at GEO Plenary. Many other members of the CEOS community were present throughout the week, including those supporting the CEOS Exhibition Booth: Dave Borges (SEO, NASA), Brian Killough (SEO), Andrew Eddy (WGDisasters), Marie-Claire Greening (CEOS Executive Officer, ESA), Flora Kerblat (CSIRO), and Riza Singh (SEO Comms).
The team distributed flyers with relevant CEOS information, details on the 2023 edition of the Earth Observation Handbook, and CEOS support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Two different types of CEOS stickers were also distributed, which were appreciated by attendees as hardcopy materials to take home. The backdrop to the booth showcased the first light image from EUMETSAT and ESA’s Meteosat Third Generation Imager (MTG-I1), alongside four different Earth observation pictures orbiting the globe in the centre. Along the ‘orbits’, different CEOS programmes and tools of interest to the GEO community were highlighted.
The booth also showcased digital content, including:
- Disaster Recovery Observatory video, contributed by WGDisasters
- 2022 Year In Review, from the 2022 CEOS Chair, CNES
- 2022 mission launches and recently launched missions, produced by the CEOS Database team
- CEOS & SDGs, produced by the SEO Communications Team
- 2023 EO Handbook Introduction, contributed by ESA to support the launch of the new EO Handbook
- Introduction to the CalVal Portal, contributed by WGCV
There was a varied level of awareness among individuals regarding CEOS and its initiatives. While some were well-informed about CEOS and its work, others had no prior knowledge, and some individuals mistakenly perceived CEOS as a private company. Common questions raised by attendees included:
- How can I be a member of CEOS? How can I get involved?
- Do you provide free and open data? How can the data be accessed?
- Are there any platforms for getting some training on the use and applications of data?
- What is the process for obtaining CEOS-ARD certification, and what advantages do holding this certification offer? Has any private company data been CEOS-ARD certified?
The flyer and wall backdrop the team had displayed helped explain and point them to the right websites and information.
Andrew Eddy, the Secretariat of WGDisasters, showcased the Disaster Recovery Observatory video on Wednesday afternoon, which was followed by a Q&A session. The demonstration drew significant interest from the attendees.
One of the standout moments of the week was the gala dinner, where the CEOS Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Coordination Group was honoured with the GEO Participating Organisation SDG Award. Flora Kerblat (CSIRO) and Dave Borges (SEO) graciously accepted the award on behalf of the team.
Exhibition booths such as the one hosted at GEO Week offer an opportunity for the various Working Groups and Virtual Constellations across CEOS to highlight their work and achievements, providing a centralised space where attendees can learn about all things relating to satellites and their data. Such visibility is important as it ensures that the efforts and advancements of CEOS are recognised and acknowledged by the broader Earth observation community, target end users, and commercial industry. CEOS booths also function as a feedback mechanism, allowing CEOS to gather insights from the community about their specific needs and expectations. The direct interaction provides CEOS with valuable information that can guide future initiatives, ensuring that their work aligns with the evolving requirements and challenges in the Earth observation domain.