Joint ConnectinGEO and GEO Workshop
Essential Variables for GEOSS
June 11-12, 2015, Bari, Italy

Towards a sustainability process for defining GEOSS Essential Variables

Scope | Deadlines | Venue | Logistics | Committees | Participation | Output | Abstracts | Registration | Accommodation | Sessions | Schedule | Program

Workshop infos

Relevant Links and Documents

  • [June 11, 2015] Remote connections: Removely following the program is possible using Goto Meeting. For details, see the Program page.
  • [June 01, 2015] Near-final program available: The near-final program is now available at the Program page.
  • [April 15, 2015] Date of EV Workshop in Bari, Italy, fixed: The EV workshop organized by the ConnectinGEO project will take place on June 11-12, 2015 in Bari, Italy.


Knowing the Essential Variables: Earth observation priorities have to be on those variables that are essential for societally relevant applications, and the GEO SBAs are in the process of identifying the SBA specific essential variables. The goal is to review the status and homogenize the process of identifying and documenting the EVs.


The Workshop will review the work on essential variables (EVs) in all GEO Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs). The goal is to contribute to the formulation of lists of EVs required to populate the Socio-Economic and Environmental Information Needs Knowledge Base (SEE IN KB) and to quantify the metrics for selected communities, In GEO, some SBAs are currently discussing SBA-specific sets of EVs. The goal of the Workshop is to identify an integrated set of EVsbalanced between the different SBas that can support a priorization of EO networks.

The Objectives of the workshop are:

  • Review the status of existing Essential Variables (EVs) in different communities/domains and the processes used to identify them.
  • Clarify to what extent these EVs are validated and used.
  • Develop consensus on a common process for the identification of EVs in support of the communities that are currently defining them.
  • Attempt an integration of the different sets of EVs developed so far. A peer reviewed document on the EV status and definition process, and requirements will be produced.


The speakers are asked to give an overview of the status of the discussion of essential variables (EVs) within their community or SBA. All speakers should address the same set of questions to get a coherent overview of the status for the different SBAs. These question include:

  • Is your community developing a set of area-specific EVs?
  • If not, is the community planning to start this in the near future?
  • If you have, or are developing a set of EVs, please consider the following questions:
  • How do you define an EV?
  • What criteria, methodology, and process are used to identify EVs?
  • Do you have a template to document an EV?
  • How are EVs validated to meet the criteria and to be essential?
  • To what extent are the EVs already accepted by the community?
  • Are the EVs linked to applications and users?
  • How is a community agreement reached?
  • Is a community review process in place?
  • Are the EVs linked to an international body (i.e. a UN convention or similar) and is this body involved in accepting the EVs?
  • Do you have a database with information on the EVs?

We also would like to hear more about the links between EVs and observation networks:

  • Are the current operational networks operated by your community measuring the EVs?
  • Have you already carried out a gap analysis utilizing the EVs to identify gaps and priorities in in terms of in situ and remotely sensed data availability; models (algorithms); direct measurements or proxies; data repository; infrastructure.


The definition of an EV still needs to be worked out. However, it will be important to include in the definition that an EV should be monitoring change in the system state (and have value for attribution of the drivers for these changes). An EV should only be accessible through measurements and not be derivable in different way.

A variable can be essential in principle, but the spatial and temporal resolution of observations of this EV depend on the use of the observations, and in some cases, available observations may not be ready for use for specific applications.