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News Satellite data-sharing to benefit poorer nations

A new data-pooling system will make data from satellites run by China, Europe and the United States available for a fee of US$1,500: This new satellite-based information system will allow poorer nations to gain cheap access to crop, health and climate data, enabling them to better prepare for natural disasters. Starting next year, the GEONETCast system will give countries access to data gathered by satellites and weather stations run largely by the world's richer nations. To receive the data, users must buy a receiver and a US$1,500 licence fee. The system combines satellites operated by China, Europe and the United States, and was demonstrated this week (28 November) at a conference of the Group on Earth Observations in Bonn, Germany. The satellite data could be used by officials trying to contain forest fires, who could use near real-time data on wind speed, wind direction and surface temperature to forecast the course of the fire. Data on soil moisture, rain and vegetation cover could help officials forecast droughts, enabling farmers and governments to take preventive steps. China's participation in the project gives it access to a more comprehensive global data set and the chance to improve its satellite technology, said Zhu Xiaoxiang, a senior researcher at the National Satellite Meteorological Centre. The Group on Earth Observations includes 66 countries, the European Union and 43 international organisations. The group's GEONETCast project is organised by China, the United States, the World Meteorological Organization and EUMETSAT, which operates European weather satellites.

Contact information n/a
News type Inbrief
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Source of information SciDev.Net Weekly
Keyword(s) Satellite data
Geographical coverage International
News date 05/12/2006
Working language(s) ENGLISH