is the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, created in 1984
in response to a recommendation from a Panel of Experts on Remote
Sensing from Space, under the aegis of the Economic Summit of Industrialised
Nations Working Group on Growth, Technology and Employment.
its establishment, CEOS has provided a broad framework for international
coordination on spaceborne Earth observation missions.
coordinate Earth observation satellites?
observation satellites are recognised as the sole or primary source
of data for a wide range of operational and commercial applications,
scientific studies, and policy needs such as in the monitoring
of international environmental treaties. Part I of this document
describes some examples of their importance in areas such as future
management of freshwater resources, and improving understanding
of the global carbon cycle.
of the relevant issues are global in nature and require global solutions
beyond the mandate and resources of individual governments. Large
number of geophysical measurements are required often with
different spatial and temporal resolutions and accuracies. No single
programme, agency, or nation can hope to satisfy all of the observational
requirements which are necessary for improved understanding of the
was established to provide coordination of the Earth observations
being provided by satellite missions.
does CEOS contribute?
strives to facilitate the necessary harmonisation and achieve maximum
cost-effectiveness for the total set of space-based observation
programmes of member countries and agencies.
has established three primary objectives in pursuing this goal:
optimise benefits of spaceborne Earth observations through cooperation
of its Members in mission planning and in development of compatible
data products, formats, services, applications and policies;
serve as a focal point for international coordination of space-related
Earth observation activities;
exchange policy and technical information to encourage complementarity
and compatibility of observation and data exchange systems
work of CEOS spans the full range of activities required for proper
international coordination of Earth observation programmes and maximum
utilisation of their data, and ranges from the development of detailed
technical standards for data product exchange, through to the establishment
of high level interagency agreements on common data principles for
different application areas such as global climate change
and environmental monitoring.
participates in CEOS?
membership comprises most of the worlds civil agencies responsible
for Earth observation satellite programmes amounting to 23
Members in 2002.
also has 20 Associates, comprising:
organisations that are international or national in nature and
that are developing Earth observing satellite programmes or significant
supporting ground facility programmes;
existing satellite coordination groups and scientific or governmental
bodies that are international in nature and currently have a significant
programmatic activity that supports CEOS objectives.
full list of Members and Associates is shown in the tables below.
does CEOS operate?
is managed by Plenary, at which CEOS Principals meet annually. The
CEOS Plenary determines policy, reviews progress on the projects
and activities being undertaken, and sets the agenda of activities
for the upcoming year. The Chair of CEOS rotates at the annual Plenary.
work of CEOS is conducted within its various working groups. Coordination
throughout the year is maintained through a permanent Secretariat
maintained by the European Space Agency (ESA), the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) jointly with the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the USA, and the Ministry
of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) jointly
with the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA).
involvement in IGOS-P
Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnership (IGOS-P) was established
in June 1998 by a formal exchange of letters among the 13 founding
Partners for the definition, development and implementation of the
Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS). The principal objectives
of the IGOS are to address how well user requirements are being
met by the existing mix of observations, including those of the
global observing systems, and how they could be met in the future
through better integration and optimisation of remote sensing (especially
space-based) and in situ systems.
has embraced the concept of an IGOS as a valuable initiative which
perfectly complements its own set of objectives, and which may be
adopted by CEOS to derive greater benefit from operating and planned
observing systems. Through working together, CEOS agencies are in
a position to plan their Earth observation programmes with the minimum
of unnecessary overlap and to devise joint strategies for addressing
serious gaps in their observation capabilities.
links between space-based and Earth-based observing systems, and
with scientific and environmental policy-making processes provide
compelling motivation for CEOS to take an active role in IGOS-P
information on the membership, structure, activities, and achievements
of CEOS is provided in annex A of this document. CEOS involvement
in IGOS-P is explained in annex B.