Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

A clearer view of earth observation data, the EU way

Relevant facts, readily accessible in a user-friendly format: big decisions should be based on sound information. An EU-funded project launched in Barcelona, Spain on 17 February has set out to enhance the usability of global environmental data. With its strong emphasis on sta...
A clearer view of earth observation data, the EU way
Relevant facts, readily accessible in a user-friendly format: big decisions should be based on sound information. An EU-funded project launched in Barcelona, Spain on 17 February has set out to enhance the usability of global environmental data. With its strong emphasis on standardised quality metadata, it is expected to boost the readability of the GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) databases.

The new project, called GEOVIQUA ('Quality-aware visualisation for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems'), has secured an EU contribution of EUR 3.27 million to its total budget of EUR 4.02 million. EU support for this three-year endeavour is provided under the Environment Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

The project involves partners from Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK as well as the European Space Agency (ESA), led by the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. Announcing the launch, CREAF explained that GEOVIQUA 'aims to develop a rigorous estimation framework for quality, uncertainty and usability of global environmental data and to disseminate the quality information to users via browsers and data viewers'.

In doing so, GEOVIQUA is expected to make a significant contribution to the development of GEOSS, an international public infrastructure dedicated to centralising and disseminating data generated by land-, sea-, air- and space-based earth observation systems. One of the objectives driving the deployment of this global data network is to inform decision-making processes.

GEOSS focuses on a range of complex issues where precise spatial and temporal resolution data is of particular relevance to society. The GEOSS implementation plan outlines nine such areas: disaster mitigation; human health and well-being; the management of energy resources; climate variability and change; water resource management; the weather (information, forecasting and warning); the management and protection of ecosystems; sustainable agriculture; and biodiversity.

The GEOVIQUA team strives to support this wider effort in order to shed light on environmental systems and dynamics through the development of standardised data quality indicators and quality-enabled search and visualisation tools. The emphasis on standardising quality metadata is linked to concerns that facts and figures might be disseminated without explicit explanations on the accuracy and usability of the data - a situation that can arise where information is exchanged and disseminated across a range of platforms, and which could lead to misunderstandings. 'These aspects,' says CREAF, 'are particularly relevant when the information is used in sensitive topics such as anthropogenic climate change.'

GEOVIQUA will ascertain data quality on the basis of metadata, provenance information and reference data, as well as through expert user comments and validation with in situ sensors. Improved access and visualisation options for this information will complete the picture.

'With the adoption of a GEO [Group on Earth Observations] label that considers quality indicators,' CREAF concludes, 'the task of communication and exploitation of the vast information resource represented by the GEOSS databases will be easier. All [components developed] in GEOVIQUA will be compatible with current geospatial standards, mass market map tools like Google Earth, other 3D visualisation tools, and mobile devices.'

Source: CREAF

Related information

Record Number: 33095 / Last updated on: 2011-02-21
Category: Other
Provider: EC