Bringing People Closer to Earth Data: An overview of recent GEOSS Platform upgrades

Blog / Natacha Klein / May 2, 2018

As the number of open Earth Observation resources increases, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is making strides to ensure that more users are connected with the data, information and services they need. This service is crucial to improve the use of Earth observations in decision-making processes in key policy areas, from climate change to disaster risk to the Sustainable Development Goals and beyond.

As part of a continuous improvement process, the original GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI) has evolved to become today’s GEOSS Platform.

In 2010, the GEOSS Portal (www.geoportal.org) launched to connect users with Earth observation data and information resources. In 2012, the GEO DAB (Discovery and Access Broker) emerged as a brokering infrastructure, ensuring that externally-hosted data resources are interoperable and discoverable via a single infrastructure, regardless of the standards used by the individual data providers.

Over the last year, several new GEOSS Platform functions have been developed or upgraded to provide users with more possibilities to explore the data they need.

Upgrades include improvements to the GEO DAB, as well as improvements to the GEOSS Portal user experience:

GEOSS API: The GEOSS Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allows data providers to share resources without having to make major changes to their technology or standards. The GEO DAB uses APIs to create a common language between data providers and users, so that can they can connect and share information, while the APIs’ simple search capabilities simplify the development of applications and use of the GEO DAB by developers. GEOSS API is managed by theNational Research Council of Italy Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research (CNR-IIA).

GEOSS View: GEOSS View enables the creation of topic-specific portals for individual user communities. These portals provide access to a subset of resources using temporal, thematic and spatial criteria. For example, a GEO community working on water management in Africa might be interested in a portal to explore African water-related resources. Through their own user interface or website, the community will have access to a subset of the resources from the GEOSS Platform relevant to their specific needs. This function is already in use by GEO-CRADLE, a GEO activity focused on North Africa, Middle East, and Balkan regions.GEOSS View is managed by CNR-IIA.

GEOSS Mirror: The GEOSS Mirror functionality improves the access and discoverability of data. If a community does not have the resources to build a GEOSS View interface, it can instead request a GEOSS Mirror site.  A mirror site is a user interface that has the same look and feel as the GEOSS Portal, but only the requested subset of data and resources will be accessible. For example, the Global Observation System for Mercury (GOS4M) GOS4M Mirror site allows users to find data and information related to mercury and its release into the environment. GEOSS Mirror is managed by European Space Agency (ESA).

GEOSS Widget: The GEOSS Widget enables external websites to incorporate a GEOSS Portal search function. GEOSS Widget is managed by ESA.

GEOSS Status Checker The GEOSS Service Status Checker improves user experience by providing information on the reliability of data or services. The Status Checker is an automatic mechanism to monitor, diagnose and alert data providers and users on the health status of data and services in the GEOSS Platform, indicating if they are active, running and up-to-date. User can also filter their searches in the portal by health status.

GEOSS Like: GEOSS Like allows users to rate data and information resources in the GEOSS Platform from one to five stars, and to add comments.

GEOSS Yellow pages: The GEOSS Yellow Pages are a directory of data providers contributing to the GEOSS Platform. Directory listings include the providers’ catalogs and their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals and GEO Societal Benefit Areas. Providers can also choose to include information on their geographical coverage, GEO affiliation, their data policy and adherence to GEO Data Management Principles. The GEOSS Yellow Pages functionality is managed by the University of Geneva.

To explore the GEOSS Platform, visit www.geoportal.org. To request support or for more information, please contact Paola De Salvo at pdesalvo@geosec.org.


About the author

Natacha Klein

Natacha Klein is a communications intern at the Group on Earth Observations Secretariat.


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