GEOEssential is addressing the need for sustainable and trusted sources of data and information to monitor the progress made on environmental conditions (Lehmann et al. 2017). The project will demonstrate the feasibility and general nature of Essential Variables (EVs) across the Nexus of GEOSS Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs). It will create cross-thematic workflows to evaluate, predict and monitor natural resources to inform via Earth observations a selection of targets from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)(GEO 2017). Existing structures and platforms will be analysed in order to identify substantial gaps and synergies for addressing the needs of environmental policy in agriculture, soil, water, biodiversity, energy, light, and raw materials and to develop the GEOEssential HUB. The potential of product services (Copernicus Sentinel missions + contributing missions), sensors, in-situ data (Observatories e.g. TERENO, ICOS), networks (ENEON) and external data sources all being combined and working together will be evaluated. Solutions for improvements will be provided in cooperation with GEO and Copernicus programmes and potential end-users from public and private sectors.

GEOEssential will create a Knowledge Base infrastructure to facilitate the collection and formalization of the knowledge (i.e. user needs, gaps recognition and recommendations for closing gaps, best practices, Community of Practice lexicon, etc.) stemming from the European Network of Earth Observation Networks ( and from other significant Earth Observations (EO) initiatives and programs at the National and European levels. The Knowledge Base infrastructure will facilitate and advance the generation of new knowledge through EVs and also foster data integration and harmonization efforts. This approach builds on the methodology proposed by the H2020 project ConnectinGEO (ConnectingGEO 2016a, b, c). The Knowledge Base infrastructure will be connected to and will rely on the GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI), as well as the Copernicus Services data hub. In addition, new sources of socio-economic data will be utilized to support the implementation of national, European and international environmental policies.

With several specific objectives, GEOEssential will:

  1. Enhance the existing Knowledge Base infrastructure on EVs at the Global, Pan-European, and National scales following Copernicus Categories levels;
  2. Address identified gaps in the definition and selection of EVs linked to the above-mentioned SBAs in collaboration with the respective Communities of Practice, stakeholders and identified users (both intermediate and final);
  3. Contribute to the in-situ data and infrastructure coordination in Europe (e.g. ENEON);
  4. Improve the availability of EVs services from GEOSS and Copernicus platforms;
  5. Assess the potential of synergies between ground (in situ including citizen science, national monitoring, etc.) and satellite observations for calibration, validation, data integration, and quality check;
  6. Develop specific data workflows and best practices to improve the interoperability and
  7. Build the GEOEssential EVs Hub with a dashboard from EVs to SDGs making use of the developed workflows; and
  8. Simplify and promote the use of EVs across the EO Communities of Practice and beyond, i.e. by the creation of a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on EO activities.