The underlying principles are contained in the GEO draft Strategic Plan, presented to the GEO-XI Plenary held in Geneva in November 2014. The Strategic Plan encompasses five major areas: core functions, governance, implementation of the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS), engagement with developing countries and the private sector, and resources for GEO and GEOSS through 2025.
The Plenary provided significant feedback on the Strategic Plan, and additional input was collected from external constituent groups through a series of stakeholder meetings in the months that followed the Plenary. The final Strategic Plan will be presented to the GEO-XII Plenary and adopted at the 2015 Ministerial Summit, both to be held in Mexico City from 11 to 13 November.
The Plenary further discussed key GEO initiatives including:
- development of a comprehensive system to monitor the availability and quality of fresh water, in partnership with the World Health Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other UN agencies as part of the UN Sustainable Development agenda; and
- creation of an Africa-wide technological and human infrastructure (AfriGEOSS) to provide decision-makers with access to Earth observation data.
The winners of the GEO Appathon 2014, an “app” development competition built on the 80 million-plus resources currently available through GEOSS, was also announced at GEO-XI Plenary. The Appathon attracted almost 250 competitors from close to 50 countries and generated several easy-to-use decision tools for mobile devices and computers.
1 st Prize: Growers Nation App - provides useful information on the plants that will grow best according to the specific soil and climate data at a precise location. The App is aimed primarily for smallholder farmers in developing countries. Developers: Lead by Tobias Sturn in association with International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the University of Maryland (UMD), and the Met Office (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
2nd Prize: Weather Hazard app - informs the public about weather and associated hazard conditions in El Salvador, in particular, landslides and flood conditions during the rainy season. Developer: David Eliseo Martínez Castellanos based in El Salvador
3rd Prize: Geofairy app - provides localized information on weather, vegetation, elevation, soil moisture, land cover, atmosphere and precipitation, which is often difficult to acquire in developing countries. Developer: Liping Di, Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, George Mason University