Governments and industry join together to drive sustainable economic growth using Earth observations at GEO Week 2019

Press release / 3 November 2019 / Group on Earth Observations

Canberra, Australia 

A week-long event to bolster investment and support for Earth observations is kicking-off in Canberra, Australia at GEO Week 2019.

More than 1400 people are already registered for the annual gathering of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) community. GEO Week is one of the world’s largest gatherings of Earth observation practitioners and policy makers. From 4-9 November, delegations from almost 50 countries including the GEO co-chairs - United States, China, South Africa and from the European Union - will join with leaders from the geospatial, space and technology industry. The purpose is to discuss future investments in the Earth observations sector that will drive productivity and sustainable economic growth. This is the first-ever GEO Week meeting to be held in Australia.

"Earth observations provide critical data for decision makers to take informed actions for our planet. We look forward to discussions with EO community at GEO Week to ensure that Earth observations are used effectively by policy makers, the commercial sector and communities to drive global impact," said GEO Secretariat Director, Gilberto Câmara.

GEO Week 2019 features a full programme of events hosted at the National Convention Centre Canberra, which includes: GEO-XVI Plenary, Side Events, a world-class Exhibition featuring live demonstrations and innovations, Ideas Stage pitches, a brand new initiative for commercial sector engagement at the Industry Track, and much more. The event showcases successful applications of Earth observations and new technologies in global, regional and local contexts. Tailored sessions will focus on how EO can aid decision makers to address key issues related to disaster risk reduction, climate action, food security, and other key topics impacting our lives on a daily basis.

The centerpiece of GEO Week 2019 will be the Ministerial Summit, which is held once every four years. The theme of this year’s Ministerial Summit is ‘Earth observations: Investments in the digital economy.’ Investments in technologies around big data, cloud computing and machine learning offer new and exciting opportunities to access and benefit from Earth observation data and knowledge. Ministers will discuss the integration of Earth observation data into the broader digital economy, which is critical for sustained and inclusive economic growth.

“We know international cooperation and coordination are essential for delivering the benefits of Earth observations to Australians and people around the world. Australia has been a Member government of

GEO since it started more than 15 years ago. For the first time in its history, we are proud to welcome the global GEO community to Australia,” said Australia’s GEO Principal Stuart Minchin from Geoscience Australia.

GEO Week 2019 features events for youth, indigenous communities and Pacific Island countries

  • The GEO Week Hackathon on 2-3 November is a competition for indigenous youth to develop solutions using Earth observations to address challenges in their communities. 
  • The GEO Week Open Day for Youth on 6 November showcases careers and learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines and Earth observations.
  • A dedicated Pacific Island Programme will advance projects, proposals and partnerships that strengthen EO capability in the region.
  • At a special Awards Ceremony at the Gala Dinner on 6 November prizes will be presented in three award categories: The GEO Individual Excellence Awards for outstanding contributions to GEO; The Earth observations for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Awards for institutions and governments; and The Citizen Science Awards, organized by NASA and Scouts Australia, will award the winners of a global contest for youth. 

High-level meetings happening  at GEO Week

  • UN Environment’s Science-Policy-Business Forum is hosting its Big Data for Environment Working Group meeting in the margins of GEO Week 2019.  This provides an opportunity to connect discussions on Earth observations with broader discussions about the use of big data for the environment.
  • Asia-Oceania GEO, the regional GEO for the Asia-Oceania region, is hosting its Annual Symposium focused on “How do we go from global challenges to improving local decision making?” and “How do we connect and synergize GEO and AO-GEO activities?”
  • UN-GGIM Asia Pacific (AP) is one of the five regional committees of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, representing 56 countries in the Asia and the Pacific region.

Follow the Group on Earth Observations on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn for updates. Photos from the event are available on Flickr. 

Specific sessions will be live streamed on GEO’s YouTube channel.

Information for media

Online registration for GEO Week 2019 media accreditation is now open. Accredited media will have access to a range of events and opportunities throughout GEO Week 2019, including the Industry Track. Accredited media will automatically be subscribed to GEO Week 2019 media releases and updates.

For more information about media accreditation, please visit GEO Week 2019 Media and Communications. To request an interview or submit a media enquiry, please email media@geosec.org.


GEO Secretariat Contact:

Theadora Mills, Communications Officer

+41 76 7446773



Geoscience Australia Contact:

Aliesha Lavers, Senior Communications Officer

+61 2 6249 9652



About the Group on Earth Observations:  

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is an intergovernmental partnership of 108 member governments and over 130+ global collaborators committed to sharing and using open Earth observation data and information to save our planet. Working with thousands of dedicated individuals, GEO envisions a future where decisions and actions are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations.


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