FAO workshop highlights sharing of satellite data

Some 50 scientists and engineers gathered at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation headquarters in Rome, Italy, on 27 April for a workshop to discuss the use of gathering, cataloguing and sharing satellite imagery, spatial databases and interactive maps.

The amount of data acquired by satellites is increasing at an exponential rate, with many images able to be used for numerous applications. Sharing and reusing these data are beneficial for organisations as it allows them to gain access to more information and to decrease costs. In order to share, the data must be collected and catalogued and users must know such collections exist and how to search for them.

The Catalogue/Discovery Services Standardisation workshop organised jointly by ESA, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) highlighted current and future standardisation efforts of each agency that is making Earth observation (EO) data available to users together with the relevant geospatial data.

Opening the workshop, FAO Assistant Director-General Alexander Julius Mller said: "Whereas FAO has a record of longstanding and productive cooperation with both the European Space Agency as well as the EU-Joint Research Centre, this is the first time the three agencies meet in one room for a full day to review and discuss common experiences and ways forward to use standardized approaches for locating and using geospatial data."

Maps derived from satellite imagery play an important role in the work of decision makers, sustainable development planners and humanitarian and emergency managers in need of quick, reliable and up-to-date user-friendly cartographic products as a basis for planning and monitoring their activities.

Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), a joint initiative of the European Commission and ESA, will harmonise in-situ and space-based data to provide timely and quality data at global,

Contact: Simonetta Cheli
European Space Agency

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