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CEOS WGISS Interoperability Handbook

Table of contents
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Subject area:

CEOS recommendations for the implementation of interoperable systems.

Short summary of Best Practice:

This document is the CEOS (Community on Earth Observation Satellites) Interoperability handbook.

It provides recommendations for the implementation of interoperable systems drawn from the CEOS Working Group on Information Systems and Services (WGISS) 10 year experience. It is a handbook, not an academic essay devoted to the theory of interoperability. It is for immediate use by anyone willing to implement interoperable services in a way that preserves their interoperability.

While a stand-alone system is usually built for a community with several needs, an interoperable system is built as part of a broader system for different communities sharing similar needs. Interoperable systems are actually systems of systems, with each of their components providing at least one part of the full answers expected by their users.

An interoperable system cannot be implemented in the same way as a stand-alone system because it must be built upon the same underlying concepts as are the other interoperable systems with which it will interact. Thus, implementing an interoperable system requires to follow particular guidelines.

These guidelines applied to Earth observation systems are shown in this handbook as recommendations.

Why is there a need for this Best Practice?

Interoperability can be defined as the capability of the user interface and administrative software of one instance of a service to interact with other interfaces of same type of services.

Services are said to be interoperable if they allow for interoperability as previously defined. And systems are said to be interoperable if they are effective implementations of interoperable services.

Developing systems as implementations of interoperable services makes sense only if there is an existing or expected partnership between organisations developing and/or operating these interoperable systems. By definition, interoperable systems do not behave as if they were insulated. They become de facto members of systems of systems linking each of such systems to at least of one of its alter ego. It results that the CEOS Interoperability Handbook is for communities who may adopt it as guidelines for systems they want to be (or become) interoperable with other ones. The primary community for this handbook, obviously is the CEOS community. But others may find benefit in applying it.

Provide example application:

1) International Directory Network (

How widely deployed (if applicable): not applicable.

Owner (Originator) Contact Information: CEOS/WGISS (

Submitter Contact Information: Paul Kopp (

Files (1)

File Size Date Attached by  
 Handbook 0802.pdf
This handbook is a synthesis of the experience gained over many years by the Community on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) in developing and implementing interoperable information systems for space borne Earth observation data.
350.79 kB12:55, 21 Feb 2008koppActions
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