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Section 1: GEOSS Introduction

1.1 Overview of GEOSS

The Global Earth Observation System of Systems will provide decision-support tools to a wide variety of users. As with the Internet, GEOSS will be a global and flexible network of content providers allowing decision makers to access an extraordinary range of information at their desk.
This ‘system of systems’ will proactively link together existing and planned observing systems around the world and support the development of new systems where gaps currently exist. It will promote common technical standards so that data from the thousands of different instruments can be combined into coherent data sets. The ‘GEOPortal’ offers a single Internet access point for users seeking data, imagery and analytical software packages relevant to all parts of the globe. It connects users to existing data bases and portals and provides reliable, up-to-date and user friendly information – vital for the work of decision makers, planners and emergency managers. For users with limited or no access to the Internet, similar information is available via the ‘GEONETCast’ network of telecommunication satellites.
The Global Earth Observation System of Systems is simultaneously addressing nine areas of critical importance to people and society. It aims to empower the international community to protect itself against natural and human-induced disasters, understand the environmental sources of health hazards, manage energy resources, respond to climate change and its impacts, safeguard water resources, improve weather forecasts, manage ecosystems, promote sustainable agriculture and conserve biodiversity. GEOSS coordinates a multitude of complex and interrelated issues simultaneously. This cross-cutting approach avoids unnecessary duplication, encourages synergies between systems and ensures substantial economic, societal and environmental benefits.

1.2 Explanation of tutorials, in general terms

The AIP-4 tutorials aid data providers in deploying synchronous on-line access for their data. This activity was done in coordination with the Standards and Interoperability Forum (SIF), which managed the outline of tutorial topics. Data Access procedures, as recommended by the DSTF and GCI CT, were followed in AIP-4. An emphasis was placed on planning for multi-year persistence of the online data access and also on software, techniques and standards that make this possible.

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