Earth Monitoring Working Group

Chair : Chris Elvidge [ chris.elvidge AT ]
Co-Chair : Damrongrit Niammuad [ d.niammuad AT ]
Mailing List: 
monitoring AT


The Asia Pacific region contains 60% of the planet's population. The region is correspondingly rich in its marine and terrestrial biotic resources, many of which are increasingly impacted by anthropogenic activities.

The mission of this working group (WG) is to facilitate access and utilization of satellite remote sensing data within the Asia Pacific region for the promotion of sustainable economic development, preservation of the region's biotic resources, and early identification of events or conditions which may lead to disasters.

There are a number of pressing environmental issues in the region, including deforestation, coral reef degradation, and pollution of air and water resources. In addition, there are major questions regarding the sustainability of fishery resources, which have supplied the region's people with protein for millennia, but are now being heavily exploited with an array of technologies.

Given the current trends in economic development, natural disasters are anticipated to have high recovery costs in the coming decades. The Asia-Pacific region is a part of the circum-pacific "ring of fire", with hundreds of potentially active volcanoes and a significant history of earthquakes. Monsoons bring torrential rains and flooding. When monsoons falter, due to events such as El Nino, drought and devastating fires can occur.

Satellite remote sensing technologies have proven capabilities for environmental monitoring and disaster warning. However, the full value and benefit of current sensor systems is seldom realized due to limited distribution of the data and derived products, which are constrained, in part, by large data volumes. Recent advances in high performance networking technologies opens up new opportunities for wider access and utilization of remotely sensed data.

The WG will utilize APAN to distribute remote sensing data and derived information products to new sets of data users which will be developed through the APAN nodes. The WG will seek to democratize the decision making impact of the distributed data through local media outlets, universities, government laboratories, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The WG will monitor the feedback from data users and attempt to respond through changes and adjustment in the products and delivery patterns to better serve the objectives of the end users. The WG has established a set of implementation objectives detailed below, tapping into capabilities available at WG member institutions. In the longer term, the WG will seek out collaborations with a broader range of remote sensing data and product providers to serve as a regional hub for distribution of earth observations into the Asian Pacific region.

The EO-WG objectives run parallel to those expressed in the Declaration from the 2003 Earth Observation Summit.

Specifically, the EO-WG will work to conduct and promote the following:

  1. To utilize the APAN network resources in the exchange and distribution of earth observation satellite data in a full and open manner with a minimum time delay and minimum cost, recognizing relevant international instruments, national policies and legislation.
  2. Preservation and open access to the long term record of satellite earth observation data through digital archives.
  3. Open access to a wider range of geospatial data of the Asia Pacific region.
  4. Exchange of open source software for use in the access, display and analysis of earth observation satellite data.
  5. Review of information requirements for consumers and policymakers in environmental, economic, and social arenas to further expand EO data utilization.
  6. Capacity building activities to engage participation from all nations in the region and to maximize the availability and utilization of earth observation satellite data in developing countries.
  7. Exploration and prototyping of innovative technologies and distributed methods for accomplishing 1-6 above.


  • July 1998 - Establish WG (completed).July-Dec. 1998: Identify user groups
  • October 1998 - Begin daily distribution of Sea of Japan DMSP-OLS products.
  • January 1999 - Begin distribution of daily DMSP-OLS fire products.
  • February 1999 - APAN Sessions and WG Meeting, Osaka.
  • DMSP-OLS products.
  • Late 1999 - DMSP-SSMI and TRMM data transmission.
  • Mid 2000 - Evaluation of WG achievement reporting.

The position paper will be posted on the APAN website. It will be a single view from the entire group. We take Prof. Kilnam Chon's proposal of the cluster. There are three main clusters. SEAsia cluster would have the countries in the neighboring countries. Oceanic cluster in Australia, North-east asia cluster is Korea, Japan., China, etc.

Last Updated: 

2018 Sep 20