Annex A - Further information on CEOS


Part I of the document provides an overview of CEOS and its activities. This annex provides more details of the organisation and function of CEOS.


Governmental organisations that are international or national in nature and are responsible for a civil spaceborne Earth observations program currently operating, or at least in Phase B or equivalent of system development, will be eligible for membership in CEOS.

CEOS Associates are either:

  • Governmental organisations that are international or national in nature and currently have a civil space-segment activity in Phase A/pre-Phase A or equivalent of system development, or a significant ground-segment activity that supports CEOS objectives; or
  • Other 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.

A full list of CEOS Members and Associates is given in section 1.

CEOS Plenary

Currently, 23 space agencies along with 20 other national and international organisations participate in CEOS planning and activities. Participating agencies meet in Plenary annually, with activities and coordination occurring throughout the year. The Plenary reviews progress on the various projects and activities being undertaken within CEOS. The Chair of CEOS rotates at the annual Plenary. The CEOS Chair for 2002 is the European Space Agency (ESA). For 2003, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will undertake CEOS Chairmanship.

CEOS Secretariat

A permanent Secretariat, chaired by the current CEOS host organisation, provides most of the coordination between plenary sessions and is 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 United States;
  • the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) jointly with the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA);

and is chaired by the current CEOS host organisation in support of the CEOS Plenary. As part of the ongoing contribution to CEOS Secretariat activities, ESA is responsible for the CEOS Handbook, NASA for the CEOS Annual Report and WWW site content, and MEXT/NASDA for the CEOS Newsletter, Brochure and maintenance of the WWW site.

CEOS structure

CEOS Working Groups

Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV)
The objectives of the WGCV are to enhance coordination and complementarity, to promote international cooperation and to focus activities in the calibration and validation of Earth observations for the benefit of CEOS Members and the international user community. WGCV addresses sensor specific calibration/validation and geophysical parameter/derived products validation. WGCV meets approximately every nine months.

  • The subgroups of WGCV are as follows:
  • The Infrared and Visible Optical Sensors Subgroup;
  • The Microwave Sensors Subgroup;
  • The SAR Subgroup;
  • The Terrain Mapping Subgroup;
  • The Land Product Validation Subgroup;
  • The Atmospheric Chemistry Subgroup.

Working Group on Information Systems and Services (WGISS)
The objective of WGISS is to facilitate data and information management and services for users and data providers in dealing with global, regional, and local issues. In particular, it addresses the capture, description, processing, access, retrieval, utilisation, maintenance and exchange of spaceborne Earth observation data and supporting ancillary and auxiliary data and information, enabling improved interoperability and interconnectivity of information systems and services. WGISS meets approximately every six months.

The three subgroups of WGISS are the Access, Data and Network Subgroups. WGISS has started a new initiative called the Test Environment which offers a framework under which WGISS will work in partnership with selected international science and EO projects to test and develop information systems and services to meet their requirements. The Global Observation of Forest Cover (GOFC) international science project has been selected as a first test of this concept.

Ad Hoc Working Group on Disaster Management Support (DMSG)
The CEOS Disaster Management Support Group (DMSG) focuses on developing and refining recommendations for the application of satellite data to selected hazard areas – drought, earthquake, fire, flood, ice, landslide, oil spill, and volcanic hazards.

The DMSG has entered its final phase of work and efforts will continue in the various other groups with which it has actively collaborated and supported in the past particularly, the Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS) and the development of an IGOS Geohazards Theme, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), and UN Office of Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) in its support of the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

The final DMSG report contains recommendations to space agencies and preliminary emergency scenarios for each hazard area. The final report is available in hardcopy or via the group's web site:

Ad Hoc Working Group on Education and Training (WGEdu):
The main objective of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Education and Training (WGEdu) is to develop a plan of action for CEOS to pursue in the field of EO education and training. Towards this, the WGEdu is aiming to:

  • Assess the Earth Observation education needs in developing countries;
  • Assess technology trends of relevance for education and training;
  • Recommend a Plan of Action for CEOS participation in Earth Observation education activities.

CEOS WGEdu has developed a Strategy for EO Education and Training to provide an overarching framework for on-going efforts of CEOS agencies and other international agencies. WGEdu is aiming to: provide an effective coordination mechanism for EO education and training efforts; to initiate specific projects of web-enabled learning; to develop a directory of education/teaching materials; and to organise annual events to focus/steer ‘unified’ actions for EO education and training.

Strategic Implementation Team

CEOS has established a Strategic Implementation Team with the responsibility to address the composition and function of the space component of an IGOS. (Further details in annex B).

CEOS History
Plenary Year Venue Host
1st Plenary 1984 Washington, DC, USA
2nd Plenary 1986 Frascati, Italy
3rd Plenary 1988 Ottawa, Canada
4th Plenary 1990

São José dos Campos, Brazil

5th Plenary 1991 Washington DC, USA
6th Plenary 1992 London, UK
7th Plenary 1993 Tsukuba, Japan
8th Plenary 1994 Berlin, Germany
9th Plenary 1995 Montreal, Canada
10th Plenary 1996 Canberra, Australia
11th Plenary 1997 Toulouse, France
12th Plenary 1998 Bangalore, India
13th Plenary 1999 Stockholm, Sweden
14th Plenary 2000 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
15th Plenary 2001 Kyoto, Japan
16th Plenary 2002 Frascati, Italy
17th Plenary 2003 (TBD), USA
18th Plenary 2004 (TBD), China NRSCC

Further information on CEOS activities

Refer to:

Or contact the nearest member of the CEOS Secretariat:

Europe, Africa:

(European Space Agency)
8-10, rue Mario Nikis
75738 Paris Cedex 15
33-1-53-69-77-07 (voice)
33-1-53-69-72-26 (fax)

North and South America:

(National Aeronautics and Space Administration/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
300 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20546
+1-202-358-0793 (voice)
+1-202-358-2798 (fax)

Asia Pacific region:

(Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology/National Space Development Agency of Japan)
2-4-1 Hamamatsu-cho
Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8060
+81 3 3438 6318 (voice)
+81 3 5401 8703 (fax)

The CEOS Newsletter supplements the latest information available on-line about CEOS and is distributed internationally on a 6-monthly basis. Subscription requests should be sent to:

Ms Kazuko Misawa