A central part of GEO’s Mission is to build the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). GEOSS is a set of coordinated, independent Earth observation, information and processing systems that interact and provide access to diverse information for a broad range of users in both public and private sectors.
GEOSS links these systems to strengthen the monitoring of the state of the Earth. It facilitates the sharing of environmental data and information collected from the large array of observing systems contributed by countries and organizations within GEO.
Further, GEOSS ensures that these data are accessible, of identified quality and provenance, and interoperable to support the development of tools and the delivery of information services. Thus, GEOSS increases our understanding of Earth processes and enhances predictive capabilities that underpin sound decision-making: it provides access to data, information and knowledge to a wide variety of users.
The Global Earth Observation System of Systems’ Platform (former GEOSS Common Infrastructure, or GCI) proactively links existing and planned observing systems around the world and supports the development of new systems where there are gaps. The GEOSS Platform promotes the use of common technical standards so that data from thousands of different instruments can be combined into coherent data sets.
The GEOSS Portal offers a single Internet access point to Earth observation data, information and knowledge from all over the world for users with different backgrounds and from different disciplines. The Portal has an intuitive, easy-to-use interface to discover, access and use the ever-growing quantities of GEO resources. Through the Portal, the GEOSS Platform connects the users to the wealth of heterogeneous collections of databases and other portals and provides reliable, up-to-date and user friendly (current and historical) information – vital for the work of decision/policy makers, planners and emergency managers. Both the public and private sector but as well citizens are served.
Users can discover data considering temporal, thematic and geographic search criteria, and apply progressive filtering to retrieve, quickly and accurately, the resources they need. Information regarding the data can be inspected either via an information window or visually on different background maps if enabled before download.
For users with limited or no access to the Internet, there are regions making similar information available via the satellite service, GEONETCast. The GEOSS Platform is a brokering infrastructure.
The GEO Discovery and Access Broker (GEO DAB) is the primary mechanism by which all data and information is discovered and accessed. The GEO DAB implements the necessary mediation and harmonization services through Application Program Interfaces (APIs). These APIs allow data providers to share resources without having to make major changes to their technology or standards.
Presently GEOSS Platform brokers more than 150 autonomous data catalogs and information systems, useful for the different GEO Societal Benefit Areas including data from: CAFF, Data.gov, Data.uk, EEA, GBIF, Iris, JRC Open Data catalog, NASA, NCAR, NOAA, OCHA HDX, RCMRD, UNEP, UNOSAT, USGS, Web Energy Services, WMO WIS and many more.
Data providers are constantly being added and brokered, according to user needs, thematic and geographic balance of the data and relevance of resources shared.