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International Engagement

Attendees of the 32nd CEOS Plenary 2018

The Centre for Earth Observation maintains an active presence and leadership role on key international earth observation coordination bodies on behalf of CSIRO and Australia. Australia’s representation in both key international fora is a ‘team effort’ – CSIRO is lead for Australia in CEOS; GA is lead for Australia in GEO. A national GEO/CEOS office supports Australia’s participation in GEO and CEOS leadership & governance, engages the Australian EO community in GEO/CEOS and fosters GEO’s objectives generally through advocacy of EO and the work of GEO.

Bilateral and Regional Partnerships

The Centre manages several bilateral agreements which have been signed with space agencies around the world:

  • CCEO – Xerra (formerly Centre for Space Science Technology), New Zealand
  • CCEO – Centre national d’études spatiales CNES (French Space Agency)
  • CSIRO – European Space Agency
  • CSIRO – Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt DLR (Germany Aerospace Centre)
  • CSIRO – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana ASI (Italian Space Agency)

The Centre often hosts international delegations and contributes to several international workshops, meetings and events. These provide opportunities for side-meetings, signing, reinforcing partnerships, discussing opportunities and forging collaborations. Our geographic focus is on the Asia Pacific region. Recent and current initiatives include:

  • Earth Observation for Pacific – workshop held in Brisbane, October 2018
  • Open Data Cube for Vietnam – regular capability building workshops
Pacific panel, EO for Pacific Workshop, Brisbane October 2018

Membership of International Earth Observation Organisations

Committee on Earth Observation Satellites

The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) is an international organisation involving 60 agencies operating 156 satellites. Its mission is to ensure international coordination of civil space-based EO programs, and advocacy of the free and open exchange of data, to optimise societal benefit and inform decision making for securing a prosperous and sustainable future for humankind.

CEOS is an international body which coordinates a range of space-based EO capabilities and activities, with participants that develop, operate and support civil EO satellites. The work of CEOS ranges from the development of detailed technical standards for data product exchange, through to the establishment of high-level inter-agency agreements on common data policies for different applications areas.

CSIRO is an active member of CEOS and leads Australia’s engagement in this forum, that includes the widest global membership of civilian government EO satellite agencies.

CSIRO’s roles include:

  • Former CEOS Chair (2016) with the Plenary held in Brisbane
  • Chair (2019-2021) of the Strategic Implementation Team (SIT): The objectives of the SIT Chair focus on strategic guidance with regard to governance, stakeholders, and the accomplishment of Virtual Constellation and Working Group deliverables. Priorities include:
    • Continuation of the Analysis Ready Data (ARD) process
    • Support the establishment of the Global Carbon Observing System
    • Coordination of Space-based biomass observations
    • Showcase synergistic uses of Geostationary and Low Earth Orbit satellite observations
    • Coordination of inland freshwater observations
    • More focused SDG-related Earth Oobsercation coordination
  • Chair (2018-2020) of the Working Group on Calibration & Validation (WGCV): The objective of the WGCV is to ensure long-term confidence in the accuracy and quality of EO data and products and to provide a forum for the exchange of information about calibration and validation, including the coordination of cooperative activities.
  • Chair (2019-2021) of the Working Group on Information Systems and Services (WGISS): The activities and expertise of WGISS span the full range of the information life cycle from the requirements and metadata definition for the initial ingestion of satellite data into archives through to the incorporation of derived information into end-user applications.
  • Co-Lead of the Ad Hoc Team on Sustainable Development Goals (AHT-SDG): The AHT-SDG works to connect satellite EO with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and contributed to the Earth Observations in Support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development report.
  • Co-lead of the sub-Ad Hoc Team on Land Degradation Neutrality
CEOS SIT-34 group photo Miami

Group on Earth Observations

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is an intergovernmental organisation working to improve the availability, access and use of EO for the benefit of society. GEO works to actively improve and coordinate global EO systems and promote broad, open data sharing. GEO’s global priorities include supporting the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

GEO consists of 105 member countries and 127 participating organisations. CSIRO is a member of the Australian government delegation together with Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology. Geoscience Australia currently leads Australia’s engagement in this forum and is GEO Executive Committee member for 2018.  As vice-Chair of CEOS SIT, CSIRO is also a member on the GEO Executive Committee, as well as a member of the GEOGLAM Advisory Committee.

CSIRO’s roles include:

  • CEOS representative at GEO Executive Committee meetings
  • GEO Programme Board
  • GEO Expert Advisory Group
  • GEO EO4SDG Initiative
  • GEO Land Degradation Neutrality Initiative
  • Other GEO initatives with CSIRO participation:
    • GEOGLAM (specifically with RAPP)
    • GFOI
    • Blue Planet
    • AquaWatch
    • GEO BON
  • Annual attendance at the GEO Plenary to report on activities, organise and participate in side-meetings (SDGs, Open Data Cube, ARD, Commercial egagement)
  • GEO Ministerial Summit (every 4 years) and Plenary to be held in Canberra, November 2019: led by Geoscience Australia assisted with CCEO contributions
Video announcement of the GEOWeek2019 Ministerial to be held in Canberra

Management of Capability and Space Science Applications

Our work in space applications is international in nature, including

  • NovaSAR-1, which is a partnership with the UK, India and the Philippines
  • Open Data Cube, which involves the USA and many other countries