Focus on user requirements at WGISS-29 Meeting in Bonn

The 29th Plenary of the Working Group on Information Systems and Services (WGISS) of the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS) took place from 17 to 21 May 2010 on the UN premises in Bonn, Germany. Representatives of various space agencies and related institutions, such as the Thai Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States (NOAA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) met to discuss the status of their current tasks and actions. Among the topics were the work of the Global Datasets Interest Group, the CEOS Data Democracy Initiative, the Land Surface Imaging Interest Group, and the proposed Water Portal project in the Applications Subgroup, the Web Services Interest Group, the Grid Technology Interest Group and the Sensor Web Interest Group in the Technology Subgroup, just to name a few.

On 20 May a special session on “Supporting Disaster Management from Space: How can WGISS help” was organized by the Disaster Response Interest Group and moderated by UN-SPIDER. This session included presentations by UN-SPIDER on its mandate and activities and about EO requirements for disaster management, particularly access to real-time data by certified users. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) put forward the geo-information required to facilitate their course of action like vector databases and data updates, web services, rapid mapping and site monitoring by multi-temporal analysis. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) emphasized the need for development of the Global Drought Portal based on continuously updated optical and radar satellite data. They also underlined the need for training opportunities, hardware and establishment of regional coalitions. The goal of this session was to present the user requirements to the space agencies and to raise their awareness about the needs in the areas of disaster management and land monitoring. These pointers will be compiled in a document and distributed in writing to the CEOS member agencies.