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GEO-Data Sharing Working Group Adviser - SD0605

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is coordinating international efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). This emerging public infrastructure is interconnecting a diverse and growing array of instruments and systems for monitoring and forecasting changes in the global environment. This “system of systems” supports policymakers, resource managers, science researchers and many other experts and decision-makers.

Within GEOSS a Data Sharing Working Group (originally known as the Data Sharing Task Force) has been setup to support the GEO in its goals to put into practice the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles, the Implementation Guidelines for the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles and the GEOSS Data Sharing Action Plan. It will have responsibility for executing the GEO 2012-2015 Work Plan Task ID-01, which includes amongst its terms of reference the following elements:

• Supporting and expanding the GEOSS Data Collection of Open Resources for Everyone (GEOSS Data-CORE), a distributed pool of documented datasets with full, open and unrestricted access at no more than the cost of reproduction and distribution;
• Promoting the efficacy of the Data Sharing Principles in delivering societal benefits;
• Assisting GEO Members in establishing national coordinating mechanisms, with the support of relevant Participating Organizations, to promote and monitor engagement with the implementation of the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles and provide feedback to GEO;
• Supporting GEO Members in developing policy frameworks, with the support of relevant Participating Organizations, to further implement the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles and GEOSS Data Sharing Action Plan;
• Maximising the number of documented datasets made available on the basis of full and open access;
• Promoting to data providers the benefits of full and open access to data, in particular the benefits of the GEOSS Data-CORE.

Many of the above tasks have strong synergies with existing UK policy agendas and initiatives such as the Shakespeare review of public sector information, the Transparency agenda, Making Public Data Public, UK Location Programme and UK Environmental Observation Framework. GEO/GEOSS also has direct links with UK programmes responsible for associated European and Global initiatives such as GMES, INSPIRE, SEIS, etc.

In addition, as a current GEO country member the UK is represented within GEO and on the GEOSS, including as a member of ExCom. Membership of GEO is contingent upon endorsement of the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan and whilst it is not legally binding the UK government has committed to the aims of the plan, which include the data sharing aims and targets.

It is important therefore that the UK:

• Continues to be actively involved in GEO, GEOSS and the DSWG which is so critical to the success of GEOSS,
• Continues to provide expert input into the legal interoperability sub-group with the express aim of finalising and publicising information supporting the enhancement of legal interoperability across the GEO Societal Benefit Areas,
• Ensures that the knowledge gained through involvement in the above provides valuable insight into the current UK debate regarding the access, re-use and charging of public sector information.

The GEOSS Data Sharing Principles will add weight to the increasing call for all public sector information to be made available for free, without restriction whether the UK engages or not. This is a long-standing, complex debate with many arguments for and against positive or negative outcome as this will depend upon personal perspective. If the UK can contribute to further the implementation of the principles and required actions it is more likely these will have a more positive impact on the UK.

Reduced involvement in GEO also raises risks such as international perception of whether the UK is pulling its weight and is sharing enough data to assist international efforts, and the risk that key global datasets the UK requires for its own policy and adaption to environmental change will not be available.
Provision of support to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) with regards the UK’s input to the GEO Data Sharing Working Group (DSWG), including relevant subgroups such as Legal Interoperability, Data Sharing Principles, Data-CORE/GCI, etc for the period 1st April 2014 – 31st March 2015.

Breakdown of activities

• Attendance at bi-weekly GEO DSWG (telecom) meetings
• Attendance at Data Sharing Principles subgroup (telecom) meetings
• Limited attendance at face-to-face meetings of the GEO DSWG or subgroups, unless further days/expenses can be specifically met
• Support to the DSWG and Data Sharing Principles subgroup in meeting their specific objectives as outlined in the ToR and task sheet (ID-01: Advancing the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles)
• Review/commenting/feedback to the DSWG and Data Sharing Principles subgroup on documentation and reports produced (e.g. ToRs, GEO work plan inputs, symposium/other presentations, plenary papers, guidance, etc)
• Provision of DSWG and Data Sharing Principles subgroup updates and summaries to Defra, as required
• Provision of specific advice to Ian Davidson (or replacement) for ExCom (or as otherwise required)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2016

Cost: £32,763
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Gabriel Information Solutions Ltd
Environmental policy