2008 Earth Observation Handbook released

8 October 2008

The Earth Observation Handbook – just released and available online – explains the vital role played by Earth observation satellites in providing the information needed by governments and policymakers to make well-informed decisions for a sustainable future.

Prepared under the auspices of ESA on behalf of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the report provides an overview of existing Earth observation (EO) missions, their instruments and the plans of more than 30 space agencies for upcoming missions and instruments. It is the most up-to-date and comprehensive statement of governmental EO programmes available.

The EO Handbook, researched and written by Symbios Spazio, is always keenly anticipated by the space community for its insights into future trends world-wide in remote sensing programmes.

This edition has a particular focus on climate change and on the role of data provided by EO satellites, which are emerging as the single most important contribution to global climate observations. EO satellite data potentially contributes to more than half of the Essential Climate Variables recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The nature of climate change issues presents special challenges in terms of the need for global information and data on key planetary indicators which can provide the information required for governments and policymakers to make well-informed decisions.

Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide map

Recognising that no single country can satisfy all of the observational requirements necessary for monitoring the Earth System, governments are taking steps to harmonise and integrate their observing networks and satellite observing systems to be able to address common problems of global concern.

The major aims of CEOS are to achieve international coordination in the planning of these EO satellite programmes and to maximise utilisation of their data, in order to effectively address the most critical requirements.

The full contents of the EO Handbook 2008 are available on-line at www.eohandbook.com and include:

  • an interactive database that supports queries of particular agency plans or measurement types;
  • case studies highlighting the important role of satellites in climate change applications;
  • timelines indicating worldwide plans for each of 30 different key Earth system measurements;
  • tables featuring information on 240 satellite missions and 385 instruments planned for the next 20 years.

Print copies of the Handbook are available for CEOS members from:

Europe & Africa:
ESA EO Helpdesk via eohelp@esa.int

Americas:
CEOS Secretariat via christopher.blackerby-1@nasa.gov

Asia & Oceania:
CEOS Secretariat via Ishida.Chu@jaxa.jp

Print copies for general distribution are available at a cost of 40 Euro per copy by submitting the order form linked on the right.

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