In last week's post on the potential for providing GIS training workshops to G20 world leaders a Linkedin connection brought to my attention some of the geospatial focused groups which are actually influencing these decision makers - (thanks Steven Ramage). Therefore, this week, I'd like to quickly draw attention to one of the lesser-known superheros of the geospatial community.
GEO, otherwise known as the Group on Earth Observations is a voluntary partnership of governments and organizations which has the following vision:
"To realize a future where decisions and actions, for the benefit of humankind, are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observation information and services."
GEO is made up of over two hundred members - half of which consist of national governments and the other half consisting of international bodies with a mandate in Earth observations. Just some of the diverse but notable members which sit at the GEO table include the European Commission, the OECD, the OGC, the World Bank, Unesco, Creative Commons, the World Oceans Council, the World Health Organisation and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap.
True to it's name, GEO is about observing the planet. The GEO members meet at various worldwide conferences on a regular basis to share their observations on the important global issues which face both the planet and humanity. Being a solution focused organisation, they also share ideas on how earth observation information and services can help to overcome these challenges.
According to it's website:
"Together, the GEO community is creating a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) that will link Earth observation resources world-wide across multiple Societal Benefit Areas - Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sustainability, Disaster Resilience, Energy and Mineral Resources Management, Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, Infrastructure & Transportation Management, Public Health Surveillance, Sustainable Urban Development, Water Resources Management - and make those resources available for better informed decision-making."
GEO was established in 2005 which was the same year that Google Maps came online. Obviously, the earth observation landscape has changed considerably in that time through projects such as the Copernicus Programme, the Sentinel Satellite and the Artificial Intelligence mapping projects were announced by the likes of Facebook and Google in the recent months. Naturally, these advances will present challenges to the likes of GEO in continuing to inform political decision-making. However, in the data driven age, they should present some excellent opportunities also.
Keep an eye out.
To learn more about GEO and about how to get involved click here.