Taking The Planet's 'Pulse'

The ambitious environmental monitoring project amounts to a massive global network designed for the sharing, dissemination and management of environmental information.
July 27, 2004, 6am PDT | C. Scott Smith
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"The grandly titled Global Earth Observation System of Systems, which boasts nearly 50 countries as participants, is an ambitious attempt by governments, scientists and industry to launch a network that will continuously monitor the land, sea and air. If it meets expectations, it could transform the way farmers plant their crops, sailors plot their voyages and doctors work to prevent the spread of disease in remote regions.

For starters, the network would link data from 10,000 manned and automated weather stations, 1,000 buoys and 100,000 daily observations by 7,000 ships and 3,000 aircraft, officials said. Ultimately, it would vacuum up information from myriad other sources, including satellites monitoring ground and air movements, and feed it all into computers that will process it.

"It's a great step forward in understanding the basis of life and our society and our economy," said retired Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is spearheading the project."

Thanks to C. Scott Smith

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Published on Monday, July 26, 2004 in The Washington Post
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