U.S. Promises a Comprehensive and Up-to-Date Database of Satellite Images

by Matt Ball on November 7, 2010

On Friday in Beijing at the the Global Earth Observation system of Systems meeting, U.S. officials said they will develop the “first-ever, comprehensive and up-to-date database” of satellite images that will show land-use changes around the world, according to Reuters. The database is meant to address the need for more precise and ongoing data to inform research into climate change.

The idea for one Internet portal to link observations and data collections systems worldwide has been an ongoing goal of the 10-year GEOSS project, now in its fifth year. The database of satellite images builds upon the goal and realization that, “no matter how effective and efficient all of our single-purpose Earth observation systems may be, their value multiplies when they work in synergy.”

The idea of one central database and portal for the purpose of sharing data seems somewhat contrary to the idea of service-oriented architecture and the loosely-coupled framework for data system interoperability that had been designed and promoted in 2008. In looking for more details on this database, I found very few resources, and no official U.S. announcement. The website for the U.S. Group on Earth Observations looks as if it hasn’t been updated since the 2009 GEO-VI meeting in Washington, DC, as there is no mention of the Beijing meeting on the site, and very little recent content.

UPDATE: More details were released and are outlined in this post.

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