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This year many significant global challenges were presented to us related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The GEO community is supporting the pandemic response and recovery efforts. Earth observation (EO) data offers extensive historical and near real-time information to advance scientific inquiry, inform decision making, and enhance policy interventions.

The GEO Health Community of Practice which uses EO to support public health efforts increased its efforts in response to COVID-19. In April 2020, the GEO Secretariat issued a Call to the GEO Community to provide examples of work underway using EO in support of COVID-19 monitoring, response, or recovery.  There was a strong response to the open call from more than 40 projects from the GEO global community, which are listed here.  

Starting in March 2020, the GEO Health Community of Practice and the Earth Observations for Health (EO4HEALTH) Initiative – chaired by John Haynes (NASA) and Juli Trtanj (NOAA)  – have coordinated weekly teleconferences with hundreds of global practitioners.  These virtual meetings led to focused work on specific topics (for example, environmental determinants and seasonality, air and water quality, regional efforts) and event coordination (for example, WMO/WHO Workshop on Climatological, Meteorological, and Environmental Factors in the COVID-19 Pandemic, August 2020). To learn more, please see slide presentations and summary notes from previous teleconferences and participate in upcoming teleconferences here. 

The GEO Health Community of Practice also coordinated a special session of the GEO Virtual Symposium focused on Earth Observations for COVID-19 Response and Recovery. This session – facilitated by John Haynes, Juli Trtanj, Astrid-Christina Koch (European Commission) and Helena Chapman (NASA) – guided participants on a “world tour” to showcase actions taken to leverage global expertise, share resources and discuss priorities and challenges across geographic regions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Outburst, Iceland | NASA Landsat 8 

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