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Data users

GTOS data and information users fall into four main categories:

  • Research scientists: mainly environmental and Earth system scientists associated with existing scientific research programmes. They  give considerable input to GTOS, particularly in the early stages of any activities, by providing advice on the variables to be observed, the techniques to be used, and on appropriate methods of data analysis and data management. Priority attention is given to the following research groups:

    -    The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP): This ICSU programme has from the very beginning substantially contributed to the philosophical development of GTOS. IGBP should become the main scientific research partner of GTOS.

    -    The Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR): This is   potentially a very important user group for GTOS data and information. The CGIAR organisations are concerned with agriculture, forestry, livestock, land-use and other related activities and thus with sustainable development of developing countries.

    -   Global State of the World reporting: Several organisations prepare annual or biennial reports on the state of the world or the state of some segment of it (regional or sectoral). These organisations include the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Worldwatch Institute, the UNEP Global Environment Outlook (GEO) and the more sectoral reports of FAO, the World Bank and IUCN. The perceptions of the compilers of these broad overviews might help to identify important environmental questions and gaps in knowledge and understanding, especially relating to sustainable development and its achievement, that might otherwise be missed and with which GTOS could assist.

  • Technicians and managers: mainly national and international agencies and organisations associated with the operation and management of technical development and application programmes. They use data and information generated through GTOS for more efficient operation of their programmes. They also advise GTOS on their new and continuing data and information needs.
  • Policy makers and planners: mainly from national governments. They want GTOS data and information in forms that can be used in national planning. They often require the generation of secondary and tertiary data such as social, economic and environmental indicators. Consequently, they need to work closely with scientists to ensure that data relevant to their requirements are collected or generated.
  • International conventions: are an important means for regulating the use of the environmental and natural resources. Consulting the secretariats of  environment related international Conventions will provide insights into the types of data and information that States Parties to the conventions require to meet their convention obligations. Some of this contact work has already been done for GTOS but several relevant conventions have not yet been consulted, notably those concerned with coastal areas, and some of the larger regional conventions. Convention Parties are potentially an important user group for GTOS data and information.

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© FAO   ::   Global Terrestrial Observing System - GTOS   ::   15 January 2007