structure. The high-level training required by such personnel and the continuing education of users are equally important and also must be planned and provided for.
Meeting the challenges posed by the imminent and unprecedented exponential increase in the volume of satellite-system data requires an end-to-end review of current practice, including characterization of process weaknesses, an assessment of resources and needs, and identification of critical factors that limit the optimal management of data, plus a strategic analysis of the optimal utilization of environmental satellite data.
In this report, the Committee on Environmental Satellite Data Utilization (CESDU) offers findings and recommendations aimed at defining specific approaches to resolving the potential overload faced by the two agencies—NOAA and NASA—responsible for satellite data (see the preface for the committee’s statement of task). The committee has focused on the end-to-end utilization of environmental satellite data by characterizing the links from the sources of raw data to the end requirements of various user groups, although, given its limited scope, the committee could not thoroughly examine every link in the chain. CESDU’s goal is to characterize and provide sensible recommendations in three areas, namely, (1) the value of and need for environmental satellite data, (2) the distribution of environmental satellite data, and (3) data access and utilization. The committee’s findings are based on its members’ knowledge of trends in technology; past lessons learned; users’ stated requirements; and other supporting information. The committee hopes that this report will help NOAA and NASA identify and avoid impediments to optimal utilization of environmental satellite data.
Over the course of meetings held to collect information for this report, the committee heard presentations from several key agencies and organizations reflecting a broad range of professional perspectives. From these it distilled four consistent and recurring themes that significantly shaped its final findings and recommendations:
A growing and diverse spectrum of individuals, companies, and agencies routinely utilize and depend on environmental satellite data and information;
Products that best serve the public, together with effective use of public funds, create an ongoing evolution of requirements for data imposed on and by operational users;
Improvements in available flight and ground technologies are being made that meet these new requirements—as demonstrated by research satellite missions and aircraft flights; and
NOAA is committed to the collection of data with improved quality, reliability, latency, and information content.