During the first Earth Observation Summit of July 31, 2003, the intergovernmental ad hoc Group on Earth Observations (GEO) was formed to develop a 10-year plan for implementing an integrated Earth Observation System. Subsequently, the Interagency Working Group on Earth Observations (IWGEO) was formed to develop a 10-year plan for implementing the United States' components of an integrated Earth Observation System. The United States Group on Earth Observations (US GEO) was established in March 2005 as a standing subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Environment and Natural Resources to replace the ad hoc IWGEO.
The US GEO reports to the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, and is co-chaired by Teresa Fryberger (NASA), Dan Walker (OSTP), and Helen Wood (NOAA). The US GEO comprises representatives from 15 member agencies and three White House
offices: Centers for Disease Control, Department of Defense, Department of Defense - United States Navy, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior - Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior - Minerals Management Service, Department of the Interior - United States Geological Survey, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Science Foundation, Smithsonian, Department of State, Department of Transportation, United States Army Corps of Engineers, United States Agency for International Development, United States Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
At Earth Observation Summit II in Tokyo in April 2004, ministers from 43 nations adopted a Framework for the system of systems, focusing on nine societal benefit areas. In February 2005, nearly 60 nations at the Earth Observations Summit III in Brussels February brought the first phase of the process to a close by adopting a 10-Year Implementation Plan for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), and establishing the new Group on Earth Observations.
The U.S. contribution to GEOSS is the Integrated Earth Observation System (IEOS). GEOSS and IEOS will facilitate the sharing and applied usage of global, regional and local data from satellites, ocean buoys, weather stations and other surface and airborne Earth observing instruments. The end result will be access to an unprecedented amount of environmental information, integrated into new data products benefiting societies and economies worldwide.
The ultimate success of both the IEOS and GEOSS depends on input from not only federal sources, but also state and local governments, industry, academia and non-government organizations who, in the end, will play a major role in the leveraging of these observation systems for social and economic benefit.
For more information on the intergovernmental Group on Earth
Observations (GEO), including all approved documents to date, visit the GEO
website at http://earthobservations.org