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European approach to GEOSS

Periodic Report Summary - EUROGEOSS (European approach to GEOSS)

Project context and objectives
One of the most fundamental challenges facing humanity at the beginning of the 21st century is to respond effectively to the global changes that are increasing pressure on the environment and on human society. The Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), envisioned by the group of eight most industrialised countries (G-8) in 2003 and currently half way in its 10-year implementation plan provides the indispensable framework to integrate the earth observation efforts of the 84 GEO-members and 58 participating organisations. A major role of GEOSS is to promote scientific connections and interactions between the observation systems that constitute the system of systems, and address the scientific challenge identified above.

Progress and main results to date
The concept of inter-disciplinary interoperability is crucial to understanding the complex relations between environment and society. With this in mind, EUROGEOSS was launched on 1 May 2009 for a three year period with the aim to demonstrate the added value to the scientific community and society of making existing earth observing systems and applications interoperable and used within the global framework (GEOSS) and European one as created by the INSPIRE Directive which establishes an infrastructure for spatial information in Europe. The project builds an initial operating capability (IOC) in the three strategic areas of drought, forestry and biodiversity, and undertakes the research necessary to develop this further into and advanced operating capability (AOC) that provides access not just to data but also to analytical models made understandable and useable by scientists from different disciplinary domains. To achieve this AOC requires research in advanced modelling from multi-scale heterogeneous data sources, expressing models as workflows of geo-processing components reusable by other communities, and ability to use natural language to interface with the models. The extension of INSPIRE and GEOSS components with concepts emerging in the Web 2.0 communities in respect to user interactions and resource discovery, also supports the increased dialogue between science and society, which is crucial for building consensus on the collective action necessary to address global environmental challenges.

EUROGEOSS has completed the first half of its activities. During these first 18 months of the project, the key objectives were:
1) Achieving an initial operating capability (IOC), i.e. the development of the services necessary to make it possible to discover view, and access the information resources made available by the partners of the project in the thematic areas of biodiversity, drought, and forestry.
2) Registering these resources as GEOSS components.
3) Developing the framework for assessing the added value of the project and of GEOSS to the communities of users.

All of these objectives have been achieved: the IOC in the fields of biodiversity, drought, and forestry has been established, it has been registered with GEOSS, and a multi-layered framework of surveys and models to assess the longitudinal impact of the project and the benefits of GEOSS have been put in place.

Expected final results and their potential impact and use
During the next 18 months the project will build its advanced operating capability, so that it is possible to access and use not just data across multiple thematic areas but also models and analytical process expressed in workflows and implemented through web-based chains of services.

For further information, and access to all reports, the EUROGEOSS broker, and interactive forum, see For further information contact Francis Bertrand, BRGM, and Max Craglia, JRC,