Submit your abstracts for GEO affiliated events on Capacity Development, COVID-19 and the Sustainable Development Goals at 2020 AGU Fall Meeting

Blog / July 17, 2020

As part of the upcoming 2020 AGU Fall Meeting themed “Shaping the Future of Science,” the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is supporting several key sessions and invites members from the GEO community to submit their abstracts to take part. Sessions focused on Earth observations (EO) and Capacity Development, COVID-19, the Sustainable Development Goals and several being led by International Association of Geodesy (IAG) may be of interest and we encourage you to explore the opportunities to support these sessions.

The 2020 AGU Fall Meeting  will take place Dec 7-11th. For the first time ever, the conference will be “mostly virtual” meaning a much broader participation is possible than past years. Please note that AGU’s abstract submission portal is now open and accepting submissions until Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT.

Linked to the GEO Working Group on Capacity Development (CD-WG) and the Space Capacity Development Advisory Board, the NASA Capacity Building Program is chairing two sessions focused on different aspects of capacity development of Earth observation users:

Session SY001: Addressing the Need for Earth-Observation Capacity Development at the Local, National, Regional, and Global Scales

There is growing demand for opportunities to build capacity to use and apply EO and geospatial data for societal benefit. In response, the capacity building community is enabling individuals and institutions to build skills and capabilities through a variety of approaches across a range of scales - from local (e.g., in-person trainings and collaborative feasibility studies) to national (e.g., co-development projects with government ministries) to regional (e.g., regional hubs and capacity building networks) to global (e.g., massive open online courses – MOOCs, online webinars, and hackathons). Working at each scale requires consideration of target audience needs and priorities, appropriate formats, and methods for assessing effectiveness. This session will explore the differences between scales and facilitate a knowledge exchange between those working in the EO capacity building and international development realms. Contributors will present case studies that highlight their target audiences, implementation approach, assessment methods, challenges, and best practices.

SY004: Best Practices and Lessons Learned for Conducting Virtual Capacity Building Activities

Approaches to build skills in diverse Earth science data users, from Earth system researchers to government natural resource managers, range from in-person trainings to massive open online courses (MOOCs), experiential learning internships, and co-development projects. The recent pandemic has driven the virtualization of many in-person capacity building efforts, providing an opportunity to examine how best practices translate from in-person to virtual activities. Contributors will share their best practices and lessons learned while conducting virtual activities. Where applicable, they can highlight issues arising from transition of in-person activities to virtual. Presenters are encouraged to consider how emerging best practices will inform efforts after travel restrictions are relaxed. Experiences from local, national, and international capacity building institutions and users whose capacities were strengthened are encouraged to participate.

In collaboration with EO4SDG, two sessions are focused on the SDGS. Led by NASA, one is focused on advances in the application of Earth observation to address the SDGs in a changing climate and another on remote sensing applications for assessing the impacts of COVID-19 on the SDGs:

Session ID# 105422: Advances in the application of Earth observations to address the SDGs in a changing climate: understanding the enabling environment

With less than a decade left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries and relevant stakeholders across regions - data providers, users, and knowledge producers - are faced with a challenge of simultaneously implementing the SDGs in a coherent way, while taking into consideration the impacts of a changing climate and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Earth observations, climate models, and derived information have already played key roles in supporting sub-national, national, regional and global policies and actions to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, combat desertification and stop biodiversity loss, among other areas. The objective of this session is to share examples and raise awareness among the Earth observation community on the importance of joining efforts with the statistical and development communities to offer robust and cost-effective solutions that help countries monitor progress towards their targets, inform development priorities and ensure accountability and transparency.

Session ID# 103683: Remote sensing applications for assessing the impacts of COVID-19 on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and helping with mitigation responses

The coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the global society and the environment.  Many aspects of the interaction between COVID-19 and environmental parameters are yet to be fully understood.  This session explores creative solutions to help countries across the world fight this global challenge, and prevent it from hindering progress on improved environmental, economic, and social sustainability and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Abstracts are invited that use Earth observing satellites data as well as information generated by crowd-sourcing and in-situ measurements to create practical applications to understand, monitor, quantify, predict and visualize the impact of COVID-19 on SDG 2 (food production and security), SDG 3 (health and well-being), SDG 6 (Fresh water and sanitation), SDG 7 (energy access and resilience), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 13 (climate change), and SDG 15 (life on land), among other Global Goals.

Led by the Primary Convener, Robert Downs from Columbia University of New York, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) the following session focuses on data for users that follows the FAIR and TRUST principles:

Session ID# 102356: IN005 – Advancing Opportunities for Current and Future Users of Earth and Space Science Data

Session Description: Long-term preservation, curation, and dissemination of scientific data and related outputs are vital to ensure they can be reused by researchers, both today and into the future. The evolution of information and communications technology (ICT) in recent decades has facilitated improvements in science infrastructure, as well as in practices for preparing and managing data for potential reuse beyond the original data collection team, enabling transdisciplinary research, data integration, policy-development and decision-making. Data repositories, data centers, archives, and others have leveraged such improvements in ICT to meet challenges for creating systems that attain the Transparency, Responsibility, User Focus, Sustainability, and Technology (TRUST) demanded by their stakeholders and to offer capabilities for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) data. This session offers presentations on how the research community is meeting the challenges for both TRUST and FAIR, and thus improving opportunities for current and long-term reuse of Earth and space science data.

Several sessions being led by the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) may also be relevant to the GEO Work Programme (GEO WP), including IAG - International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF), IAG - International GNSS Service (IGS), and IAG - Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS):

G009 - Reference Frames: Determination, Usage, and Application

The quantification of many geophysical phenomena, e.g. sea level variation, co-and post-seismic deformation, glacial isostatic adjustment, loading effects, but also precise orbit determination of artificial satellites, rely on the availability of a global terrestrial reference frame, such as the ITRF. The session solicits contributions from scientists determining or using global reference frames for their applications, focusing on error budgets and other limiting factors. Contributions from analysts of space geodetic techniques (VLBI, SLR, GNSS, DORIS) and their combination in preparation for the ITRF2020, taking into account improved model updates are welcome. Papers on the exploitation of ITRF2014 are also encouraged.

*Why this is important to the GEO WP: The Earth is constantly changing shape. To be understood in context, when the motion of the Earth's crust is observed, it must be referenced. A Terrestrial Reference frame provides a set of coordinates of some points located on the Earth's surface. It can be used to measure plate tectonics, regional subsidence or loading and/or used to represent the Earth when measuring its rotation in space. This rotation is measured with respect to a frame tied to stellar objects, called a celestial reference frame. These frames provide a common reference to compare observations and results from different locations. Nowadays, four main geodetic techniques are used to compute accurate coordinates: the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), and Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS). Since the tracking network equipped with the instruments of those techniques is evolving and the period of data available increases with time, the ITRF - and consequently the positioning reference for all Earth observations  - is constantly being updated (the next update will likely be released in 2021).

G010 - Scientific Applications Enabled by the International GNSS Service (IGS) and Associated Improvements to GNSS Products

The International GNSS Service (IGS) provides the scientific community with a broad range of high-precision products supporting a wide diversity of scientific applications. Currently three fully-deployed GNSS are analyzed by IGS Analysis Centers and included in the currently running reprocessing effort: GPS (USA), GLONASS (Russia), and Galileo (Europe). Developments including additional GNSS (Chinese BeiDou, Japanese QZSS, Indian NavIC, etc.) are ongoing within the IGS. Several components of the IGS do already support a fully consistent processing of GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo in the operational chain as well as for the currently running reprocessing effort.  The continuous improvement of IGS products in this fast-moving field with constantly evolving satellites, systems, signals, models, and data analysis methodology is a scientific challenge. This session solicits presentations on scientific applications enabled by IGS products and new science enabled by improvements to quality and breadth of GNSS products.

*Why this is important to the GEO WP: IGS provides openly available GNSS data and products that benefit science and society. This serves as an access point to the International Terrestrial Reference Frame, which provides a common (openly available)  reference to compare Earth observations and results from different locations.

G011 - The Global Geodetic Observing System: Resilient infrastructure for sustainable scientific activities

The Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS) provides measurements of the time varying gravity, rotation, and shape of the Earth using geodetic and gravimetric instruments located on the ground and in space. These measurements need to be accurate to better than a part per billion in order to advance our understanding of the underlying processes that are causing the Earth's rotation, gravity, and shape to change. Mass transport in the global water cycle, sea level and climate change, and crustal deformation associated with geohazards are examples of particularly demanding applications of geodetic and gravimetric measurements. All these measurements require a common reference with the same precision, like the Terrestrial Reference Frame and the Unified Height System. This session provides a platform for discussing diverse scientific targets of GGOS with large dynamic ranges in space and time and geodetic infrastructure to enable stable production of accurate data.

*Why this is important to the GEO WP: GGOS works to unite the work of the IGS and other IAG technical services, fostering cross-cutting analyses, advocating for co-location of techniques (for example, a GNSS ground station with an SLR laser observatory) and open data sharing. GGOS also serves as the external relations, technology policy, and advocacy hub for many IAG efforts; noting the role of geodesy for supporting realization of the SDGs and Sendai Framework, as well as the uses of the GGIM-IGIF in supporting geodetic elements of geospatial infrastructure and capacity development. (We have word from our colleagues in Tonga - who attended the GEO Ministerial Summit in Canberra last year - will be submitting an abstract discussing their use of the IGIF at this session)

Please follow the links above to see the full session descriptions on the AGU Website. In addition, here are some helpful links for those interested in taking part:



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