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The GEO meeting includes representatives from 85 governments as well as 58 intergovernmental and international organizations. The international collaborative effort on data gathering and sharing aims to provide decision support tools to a wide variety of users.

This ‘system of systems’ will link existing and planned observing systems around the world and support the development of new systems to fill gaps that exist. It will promote common technical standards so that data from the thousands of different instruments can be combined into coherent data sets. The ‘GEOPortal’ offers a single Internet access point for users seeking data, imagery and analytical software packages relevant to all parts of the globe.

GEOSS will bring together a wide variety of environmental observations, from satellites, from aircraft, from buoys, from ships, from ground sensors, from storm gauges, all into one system, a system of systems in which we can develop an integrated look at the way the earth is changing, how humans are changing in response to environmental change, and how they interact together. The information gathered through GEOSS will help predict everything from climate change and biodiversity loss to floods, forest fires and public health threats.

The societal benefits of GEOSS will include:

  • Reducing loss of life and property from natural and human-induced disasters
  • Understanding environmental factors affecting human health and well-being
  • Improving the management of energy resources
  • Understanding, assessing, predicting, mitigating, and adapting to climate variability and change
  • Improving water resource management through better understanding of the water cycle
  • Improving weather information, forecasting and warning
  • Improving the management and protection of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems
  • Supporting sustainable agriculture and combating desertification
  • Understanding, monitoring and conserving biodiversity

Learn more about GEO and GEOSS here.