U.S. Group on Earth Observations

Coordinating United States civilian Earth Observations

USGEO Overview

USGEO is the interagency coordination mechanism for Federal Agencies' civil Earth observations activities. USGEO is a Subcommittee under the White House National Science and Technology Council's (NSTC) Committee on the Environment (CE).

USGEO's purpose is threefold:

Coordinate and plan Federal Earth observation activities in cooperation with domestic stakeholders;
Foster improved Earth system data management and interoperability throughout the Federal Government; and,
Engage interagency and national stakeholders to formulate the U.S. position for, and coordinate U.S. participation in the international Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

Why are Earth Observations Important?

Earth observations impact our lives every day. Empowered by bold ideas, America's leadership in global Earth observation protects lives, property, and the environment, and promotes American prosperity and security. From agriculture and active forest management to regional weather forecasts and transportation apps on personal cellular devices, Earth observations are a significant but often invisible part of our lives.

To build a robust Earth observation portfolio that responds to multiple opportunities, the Earth Observations Enterprise, which encompasses the full value chain from observations to end-user benefits, must be reliable, based on open and accurate data, open to new partners, and trustworthy. To achieve this, the Enterprise depends on continued investment, strong partnerships with industry and academia, innovations in science, technology, new applications and commercial products, optimization of observing activities, and a workforce capable of advancing and using Earth observations.

The Trump Administration is committed to continuing American science and technology leadership in this Second Bold Era. For Earth observations this translates into leveraging the powerfully unique, mutually beneficial and collaborative roles of each sector of an Earth Observations Enterprise: Federal agencies; State, local, tribal, and territorial governments; world-leading colleges and universities; private industries; non-profit organizations; and Federal and National Laboratories involved in the collection and dissemination of observations; operation of enabling infrastructure; and end-users of Earth observation data.

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More about USGEO

How is USGEO organized?

USGEO is co-chaired by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), along with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Its membership consists of 13 Federal Agencies and components of the Executive Office of the President.

What does USGEO do?

The USGEO Subcommittee principles meet monthly and conduct their activities through subsidiary working groups including:

  1. The International Activities Working Group engages international stakeholders by formulating the U.S. position for, and coordinating U.S. participation in, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The United States leads or participates in multiple GEO-sponsored projects and initiatives, many involving enhanced global use of Earth observations to meet critical gaps in societal understanding.
  2. The Satellite Needs Working Group collects agency satellite observation needs for NASA to consider as part of its satellite systems engineering and budgeting processes. The USGEO Satellite Needs process provides the first-ever whole-of-government approach to addressing agencies' civil Earth observation satellite needs.

What is the Group on Earth Observations?

Established in 2005, GEO is a voluntary partnership of governments and organizations that envisions "a future wherein decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations and information." GEO Member governments include 108 nations and the European Commission, 136 Participating Organizations comprised of international bodies with a mandate in Earth observations, and 11 Associates comprised of commercial and non-governmental, not-for-profit and civil society organizations joining governments and international organizations as official GEO collaborators. More on GEO >>

What is the relationship between USGEO and GEO?

GEO is an international voluntary partnership in which the United States is a member and leader, whereas USGEO is a U.S. interagency subcommittee under White House auspices. USGEO is responsible for formulating the U.S. position for, and coordinating U.S. participation in, GEO.

More Information and Links


Wade Price
USGEO Executive Secretary