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Japan update

Deatil of interseismic coupling distribution map   

A new GEO Supersite monitors, models the Sendai disaster

Pooling the best and most up-to-date images and model results, a new GEO Geohazard Supersite has been established to advance scientific understanding of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and support recovery operations. Meanwhile, the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters has been activated at the request of the Japanese Cabinet and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). For additional images, information and links see the UN-SPIDER web site.

Detail of highly smoothed model of coseismic slip   

New slip models mark major advance in earthquake prediction

Scientists are currently unable to directly measure the stresses along tectonic fault lines. However, they are building a growing database of displacements of the earth’s surface associated with earthquakes, using L-band and C-band radar and GPS measurements. They are using this  database together with seismicity measurements to produce models of how stress is redistributed after each shock, thus better delineating the areas of potential future seismic hazard. The website for the GEO Tohoku-oki Event Supersite now features links and further information on a new slip model developed by DPRI/Kyoto University and the US Geological Survey for Japan following the 11 march event .

Detail of renedring of PALSAR antenna   

JAXA distributes satellite data on earthquake, tsunami

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is providing updated PALSAR, ScanSAR and FBS data via its FTP site.

Users of these data are invited to share their results with JAXA and with the international community as a whole. The agency is also seeking any available information on the tsunami area, landslide area, deformation pattern (InSAR), future possible dangerous areas, and floating objects in the ocean.

This is a part of an animated gif which shows the propagation of the Tsunami. To see the complete map, click on the image. The image comes from the Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Prof. Takashi Furumura and Project Researcher Takuto Maeda.   

Sendai Event Supersite posts new maps and images

GEO continues to update the Sendai Event Supersite website with images, maps and links, most recently on interplate coupling, historic seismicity, and damage. A tsunami animation has also been posted (see thumbnail and link on the left).

map of fault slip model that measures tectonic plate movement   

Fault slip model measures tectonic plate movement

Nagoya University researchers have measured the slip distribution which extends about 400 km along a north-south axis and reaches a maximum of about 10 meters. Click here for preliminary Static fault model.

detail of map showing aftershocks location   

350 aftershocks in first 60 hours

The Supersites has links to maps as well as 3D movies of the aftershocks recorded to date.


GEOSS on-line

Scroll below for a sampling of GEOSS information resources; more sites can be found here.

Detail of radiation map  

SoDa Service releases 21 years of data on surface solar radiation

A major player in disseminating data and services about solar radiation available at ground level, the SoDa Service has released the HelioClim-1 database containing 21 years of data.  These data are of major interest for Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, and the Central Atlantic Ocean. They will provide valuable help for many applications, ranging from electricity production to climate studies. Continued …

Thumbnail of the GEO Portal home page  

GEO selects Portal and Clearinghouse for accessing GEOSS

The selection process established to identify single providers for the GEO Web Portal and the GEOSS Clearinghouse has now been completed. The GEO Plenary has recognized the US Geological Survey (USGS) as the GEOSS Clearinghouse provider and the European Space Agency/UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (ESA/FAO) as the GEO Web Portal provider. All of the contributors to the development phase of the GEOSS Common Infrastructure are thanked for their vital support and invited to remain involved in its ongoing development. To visit the GEO Portal, click here; to register your components in GEOSS, click here

Detail of a map showing the seismicity of the Caribbean from 1990-2006 [Source: USGS]  

Haiti Supersite highlights critical earthquake information

Initiated by the geohazard scientific community as a contribution to GEO, the Supersites provide easy access to Earth science data and information on natural hazards in geologically active regions. In light of the recent tragedy in Haiti, the Haiti Supersite has been updated with seismic maps, damage maps, topography data, visible and infrared images, interferograms, and useful links. See

CBERS image:  Coast of State of Rio de Janeiro  

GEO Forest Carbon Tracking portal now live

The portal for the GEO Forest Carbon Tracking (FCT) Task was launched at the GEO-VI Plenary meeting in Washington DC and can now be viewed on-line at The portal allows users to visualize the FCT National Demonstrators, the relevant Validation Sites and the inventory of the coordinated acquisitions of satellite and in-situ data; maps and information resulting from the processing of the data will also be posted here when available. A three-minute video describing the portal is also available.

CBERS image:  Coast of State of Rio de Janeiro  

INPE reaches mark of 1 million images distributed free

A pioneer in the distribution of cost-free satellite images, Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) announced that it has distributed one million images, more than 70% of which come from the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS) program. For more details see the news clipping here.

Detail of ASTER Global DEM map  

Announcing release of Global Digital Elevation Model (DEM)

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released the ASTER GDEM on 29 June. By providing a well validated, high-resolution global topography framework, the GDEM is major step forward for both research and operations that depend on Earth observations. For more information, see press releases here, here and here.

Detail of cyclone frequency map  

UN unveils new Global Risk Data Platform

The United Nations and its partners are presenting an innovative new portal for disaster risk-management data on 19 June. The launch will take place at the Second Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Reduction, which is being held in Geneva from 16 to 19 June.

For direct access:

Detail of Earth System Atlas map showing world map with precipitation in mm/day  

Earth System Atlas promotes access to research data

The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) has long recognized the challenge of sustaining, and ensuring continued access to, the numerous data bases being generated by researchers. One of the most active spin-offs from the IGBP’s early efforts in this field is the Earth System Atlas.

Read more here.

Detail of satellite image of Beijing [Source CBERS/INPE]  

Comprehensive Land Surface Imagery now available via GEOSS

In an exciting advance for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), ten leading space-related agencies collaborating through the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), its Land Surface Imaging Constellation Study Team, and its Working Group on Information System and Services (WGISS) have developed a portal that collects and distributes satellite imagery of the Earth’s land surface.

Users can now access images from all ten partners via a single web portal. This new portal is a gateway to the world’s largest collection of Land Surface Imagery and data (LSI) taken from space. Read more here.

Detail of landsat image covering Shanghai region  

Accessing the Landsat archive

The Landsat Earth observing satellites have assembled an essential record of moderate-resolution data sets of the planet’s surface features that can now be downloaded via the internet. The nearly four decades of data provide a valuable resource for scientists and decision makers concerned with changes to the land surface, as do the daily, current observations. Read more here.

Detail of population density predictions map  

The UNEP Global Environment Outlook Data Portal

The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook Data Portal is the authoritative source for the data sets used by UNEP and its partners for the widely respected Global Environment Outlook report and other integrated and thematic environment assessments. Read more about this Data Portal here




The GEOSS Common Infrastructure

Components registration

Standards registration

Visit the GEO Web Portal

Click here to register components
Click here to register standards
Click here to visit the GEO Web Portal

The GEO community is invited to register its data bases, catalogues, services and tools in the GEOSS Components and Services Registry

The GEO community is encouraged to register standards, protocols and other specifications for ensuring an interoperable “system of systems” in the GEOSS Registry

The selection process established to identify single providers for the GEO Web Portal has been completed. Visit the GEO Web Portal here

As of 28 March 2011

Number of components registered

Approved components registered

Number of services registered

Approved services registered


"Approved Components" and "Approved Services" are those ones whose contents have been manually checked by CSR Record Review Working Group and meet their quality assurance criteria.







What are GEO and GEOSS?

The Group on Earth Observations (or GEO) is coordinating international efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). This emerging public infrastructure is interconnecting a diverse and growing array of instruments and systems for monitoring and forecasting changes in the global environment. This “system of systems” supports policymakers, resource managers, science researchers and many other experts and decision-makers.

To learn more about GEO and GEOSS, please see the GEO brochure, Crafting geoinformation and the 2010 Progress Report. You can find further details about how GEO functions on the "About GEO pages".



GEO's Latest News

UNAVCO aftershock 3D movie

Japan earthquake: 3D model of 341 aftershocks - source: UNAVCO

GEO newsletter

GEO News Issue #13
(21 March 2011)


GEO releases report on global water quality monitoring

The GEO Inland and Near-Coastal Water Quality Remote Sensing Working Group met last November to assess progress towards building the water quality component of GEOSS. The resulting progress report has been posted here.


Beijing Ministerial adopts Declaration

The GEO-VII Plenary and Beijing Ministerial, held from 3-5 November, assessed GEO's progress over the past five years, evaluated past and future GEOSS implementation, agreed a Data Sharing Action Plan, and adopted the Beijing Declaration. These documents as well as the speeches given during the Ministerial are posted on the meetings page. The full-color book "Crafting Geoinformation" is also available for download.


GEOSS Work Plan Progress Highlights presentation


Beijing showcase videos now available

On 5 November in Beijing, participants in the GEO Ministerial enjoyed a number of short videos introducing GEOSS and showcasing GEO achievements in the fields of biodiversity, carbon monitoring, capacity building, health services and water management in Asia/Oceania. These videos can be downloaded and viewed here (please note that these are large files).


Earth Observation Summit Endorses Global Data Sharing

Science magazine reported from Beijing on the GEO Ministerial; read the article here.


NASA sends cost-free data to African scientists

The provision of terrabytes of data to African researchers "support(s) the goals of the Group on Earth Observations, a partnership of international agencies that promotes collaborative use of Earth science data," said NASA. Read more here.


SERVIR-Himalaya launched in Kathmandu

USAID, NASA, and ICIMOD have joined hands to establish SERVIR-Himalaya as the third regional SERVIR operational facility. Read more here.


Get Connected Online to the ‘Earth Observation Symposium’ and other events in Kathmandu 1-7 October 2010

Read full story


China, Secretariat brief Geneva diplomats on Beijing Ministerial

Dozens of government and UN diplomats attended a briefing on the upcoming Beijing Ministerial at the Mission of the People's Republic of China to the UN office in Geneva. For more details see the People's Daily article.


UK GEO Co-ordination Project Launched

Four of the UK organisations with a significant stake in building GEOSS have come together to develop the UK’s strategy for involvement in GEO. This will be achieved through a jointly funded UK GEO Co-ordination Project. See the article here.


Nature cites GEO BON value for biodiversity assessment

An editorial in the prestigious science publication Nature has recognized the GEO Biodiversity Observation Network as a crucial mechanism for supporting the proposed Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). See the article here.


GEO BON launches Implementation Plan

The Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) has released its detailed, 175-page Implementation Plan for a coordinated global campaign to gather and share information on biodiversity, provide tools for data integration and analysis, and contribute to improved environmental management and human well-being. For more information, see the Technical Summary, Detailed Implementation Plan, and press release.


GEO participates in Shanghai Expo

The MeteoWorld Pavilion was officially unveiled on 9 May by the World Meteorological Organization, the China Meteorological Administration, EUMETSAT and GEO at the Shanghai Expo Park, Shanghai, China. Read full story


EnerGEO launches newsletter

As reported earlier in GEO News, the EnerGEO project (Earth Observation for monitoring and assessment of the environmental impact of energy use) started last November with support from the European Commission. The first issue of the EnerGEO newsletter is now available. To subscribe, please visit the EnerGEO web site.


GEO applauds JAXA data on Haiti, Chile earthquakes

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has provided essential ALOS/PALSAR satellite data to international scientists whose analyses support the emergency teams responding to the major earthquakes in Haiti, on 12 January, and Chile, on 27 February. Read full story here


WCRP announces Open Science Conference

The World Climate Research Programme will host a major international Open Science Conference in Denver, Colorado, USA in October 2011. The conference will bring together major disciplines and leaders of the Earth system research community to identify opportunities for advancing scientific understanding and prediction of climate variability and change from seasons to centuries, and from the regional to the global levels. Details are available on the conference web site.


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