W Chu*
*GEO Secretariat, 7bis, avenue de la Paix, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland


The Group on Earth Observations (GEO), a global partnership of governments and organizations, envisions a future wherein decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations. To maximize the value and benefits arising from Earth observation data, Ministers participating to the Mexico City Ministerial Summit of GEO endorsed a set of GEOSS Data Sharing Principles characterized by ‘Open Data by Default’, as well as GEOSS Data Management Principles which are based on discoverability, accessibility, usability, preservation and curation. This decision puts the GEO partnership at the forefront in the field of open data and emphasizes the domain of Earth observation in the worldwide open data movement. The next challenge consists in a wide and deep implementation of these principles.

As part of its effort to assist the community in the adoption of both sets of principles, GEO developed guidelines to describe ways in which implementation of the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles and GEOSS Data Management Principles can be achieved. Moreover, three levels of actions are identified to advance the implementation:
a) National level implementation. As GEO is a best effort based organization, it relies on the national Earth observation data provision agencies to define their own process and resource to the extent possible to align their data policies with GEOSS Data Sharing Principles and Data Management Principles. The role of GEO is to capture and highlight the best practices and inspire the rest through the following two means: one is collecting examples which demonstrate the value of open Earth observation data, the other is monitoring the data policy evolvement of GEO Members.
b) Infrastructure level implementation. The GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI) is the harbor of free and open Earth observation data contributed by GEO Members and Participating Organizations. As of August 2017, it holds more than 400 million data resources from 165 data providers. To ensure usability of data in GCI, GEO is setting a process to check compliance to Data Sharing Principles and Data Management Principles, wherein the WDS/DSA Core Certification of Trustworthy Data Repository can play a role.
c) Programme level implementation. The GEO Work Programme 2017-2019 includes around 60 activities, most of which target providing products and services by processing Earth observation data. These activities are required to use data compliant to Data Sharing Principles and Data Management Principles to the extent possible, and the derived data from these activities are also encouraged to share through GCI.


GEO Strategic Plan 2016-2025: Implementing GEOSS,