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

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.


Speakers were asked to use the presentation template available here. They were also asked to address the questions indicated below the program.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

0830 - 0900:Registration
0900 - 0920Palma Blonda: Welcome and Opening Remarks (pptx)
0920 - 0940Joan Maso and Ivette Serral: The ConnectinGEO project (pptx)
0940 - 1000Hans-Peter Plag: EVs in the project and GEO Societal Benefits Areas (keynote, pptx)
1000 - 1020Stefano Nativi: EVs and relations to the GEOSS Common Infrastructure (pptx)
1020 - 1030Antonio Bombelli: Objectives of the Workshop and final document (pptx)
1030 - 1100:Coffee Break
1100 - 1230:Session 2: EVs FOR CLIMATE, CARBON CYCLE and OCEANS. Chair: A. Bombelli
1100 - 1130H. Dolman: EVs for Climate and Carbon (pdf)
1130 - 1200Iris Kriest: EVs for Oceans (pdf)
1200 - 1230R. Pastres: The potential role of EV in the implementation MSFD and UNEP (pptx)
1230 - 1300Greg Carmichael: Atmospheric composition requirements for various applications (pdf)
1300 - 1400:Lunch
1400 - 1530:Session 3: EVs FOR WATER and WEATHER
Chair: Hans-Peter Plag
1400 - 1430U. Looser: EVs for river discharge (pptx)
1430 - 1500Sushel Unninayar and Water Community: EVs for Water (pptx)
1500 - 1530D. Richardson: EVs for Weather (pptx)
1530 - 1600:Coffee Break
1600 - 1800:Session 4: EVs for ENERY and DISASTERS. Chair: T. Ranchin
1600 - 1630T. Ranchin: EVs for Energy (pptx)
1630 - 1700Jane Rovins: EVs for Disasters (pptx)
1700 - 1730Giuseppe Puglisi: Observation systems in the framework of the EPOS-IP project: the case of the volcanological community (pptx)
1730 - 1800A. Monett: Chilean SDI integrating GEO network: interoperability challenges for supporting disaster management (pptx)
2000 - 2200:Social Dinner (no host)

Friday, June 12, 2015

0830 - 0900:Registration
0900 - 1230:Session 5: EVs FOR BIODIVERSITY (EBVs) AND ECOSYSTEMS (EEBs). Chair: Palma Blonda
0900 - 0930J. Freyhof: Biodiversity: what EBVs are, why they are important, and what problem they solve (pptx)
0930 - 1200Gary Geller: Biodiversity: the process of converging on them and state of art (pptx)
1000 - 1030C. Hauser: Biodiversity: EBVs versus policies (pptx)
1030 - 1100:Coffee Break
1100 - 1130N. Cordoba: Examples of candidate EBVs in Colombia (pptx)
1130 - 1200A. Provenzale: Ecosystems (pdf)
1200 - 1300:Session 6: EVs FOR HELTH AND GLOBAL HUMAN SETTLEMENTS. Chair: H.-P. Plag
1200 - 1230Simon Hales: EVs for Health (pptx)
1230 - 1300Thomas Kemper: EVs for Human Settlements (pptx)
1300 - 1400:Lunch
1400 - 1530:Session 7: EVs for Agriculture. Chair: J. Maso
1400 - 1430Ian Jarvis: Agriculture (ppt)
1430 - 1500I. Mccallum: EVs for economic modeling (pptx)
1500 - 1530All: Discussion
1530 - 1600:Coffee Break
1600 - 1800:Session 8: SUMMARY SESSION. Chair S. Nativi
1600 - 1630Case studies (with links to GEO- AIP8): soil moisture map (pdf); habitat map. (pptx); Towards Web Model paradigm (pdf); Phylogentic diversity on WPS (pdf)
1630 - 1645Stefano Nativi: Summary of Main Points Made (pptx)
1645 - 1700Hans-Peter Plag: Summary of Responses to Questions (pptx, keynote)
1700- 1730All: Discussion
1730 - 1800Palma Blonda and Antonio Bombelli: Recommendations and a time-line for the report (pptx)
1800 Joan Maso: Close of Workshop


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.