WMO Data Conference: Exchange of Earth System Data in the 21st Century - 16-19 November 2020

Blog / November 16, 2020

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Data Conference is taking place online from 16-19 November. The conference is addressing four main themes including the changing landscape of weather, climate and water data; business models and data policy issues; filling the gaps in global data coverage; and data exchange for Earth system monitoring and prediction.

The conference is expected to formulate recommendations to WMO and its stakeholders regarding current needs and modalities for data exchange, specifically regarding the ongoing WMO review of its data policies. The GEO Secretariat Director, Gilberto Camara, is participating in 'Session 1: The changing landscape of weather, water and climate data' with a presentation on open data policy, which will address data policy in the age of big data.

The availability of petabytes of Earth observation (EO) data with an open data policy is enabling a substantial increase in our capacity of measuring and understanding global environmental change. Open satellite imagery providers include Brazil, China, the European Commission, Japan and the USA. Important questions such as tropical deforestation, water scarcity, food production and security, and land degradation can now be addressed in unprecedented detail. Given the amount of data available, cloud services have emerged as the most appropriate technology to manage and distribute data. Machine learning algorithms are increasingly used for extracting information from EO data. These trends have led to important policy questions and have raised concerns related to the role of large private companies in providing services using public EO data. While these companies have expertise working with big data and can thus provide cost-effective solutions, their role is so prevalent that issues are raised regarding data privacy and public value appropriation.

The GEO Secretariat Director will present a pragmatic approach to the big data challenge and global vision for the digital commons from the point of view of the GEO Secretariat.

Other GEO initiatives are joining the conference’s poster session. Representatives from the GEO Mountains initiative will speak about "Interdisciplinary mountain observations: data standards and sharing" on 17 November and GEOGloWS representatives will discuss “La Plata Basin: WHOS platform and GEOGloWS streamflow global service” on 18 November.

Registration and the conference programme are available here.



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