he Group on Earth Observations is coordinating efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems, or GEOSS.
GEO was launched in response to calls for action by the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and by the G8 (Group of Eight) leading industrialized countries. These high-level meetings recognized that international collaboration is essential for exploiting the growing potential of Earth observations to support decision making in an increasingly complex and environmentally stressed world.
GEO is a voluntary partnership of governments and international organizations. It provides a framework within which these partners can develop new projects and coordinate their strategies and investments. As of November 2008, GEO’s Members include 76 Governments and the European Commission. In addition, 56 intergovernmental, international, and regional organizations with a mandate in Earth observation or related issues have been recognized as Participating Organizations.
GEO is constructing GEOSS on the basis of a 10-Year Implementation Plan for the period 2005 to 2015. The Plan defines a vision statement for GEOSS, its purpose and scope, expected benefits, and the nine “Societal Benefit Areas” of disasters, health, energy, climate, water, weather, ecosystems, agriculture and biodiversity.