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-The 18th CEOS Plenary & 20th Anniversary, International Workshop & Exhibition on Earth Observation Technology and Application was held in Beijing

The 18th CEOS Plenary & 20th Anniversary, International Workshop & Exhibition on Earth Observation Technology and Application co-organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, China National Space Administration, National Remote Sensing Center, Chinese Academy of Space Technology, China Science and Technology Exchange Center and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) China Secretariat was opened on November 16. Over 600 officials, experts and scholars from international science and technology organizations and related earth observation institutions gathered in Beijing to discuss the latest development in application and prospects of earth observation technology. 

CEOS is an authoritative global non-governmental organization engaged in earth observation. The 14th Plenary held in Brazil confirmed that China would host the 18th Plenary and preside over the work of CEOS in 2004. Prof. Xu Guanhua, Chairman of the 18th CEOS Plenary and Minister of Science and Technology pointed out in his opening address that many countries and international organizations in the world are now positively encouraging the establishment of a global, comprehensive and coordinated earth observation system to upgrade the earth observation ability and efficiency and offer services for sustainable development, because such a system is the trend of development in earth observation field. 

While making great efforts in economic construction, the Chinese government also attaches great importance to environmental protection. It has put forward the requirements of “putting people first, establishing an comprehensive, coordinated, sustainable and scientific outlook of development and boosting the all-round social and economic development”. Implementing the scientific outlook of development, we must strengthen the monitoring of resources, energy and the environment, expedite the building of China’s comprehensive earth observation system, upgrade the technology and application level of China’s earth observation circles and offer a powerful objective and scientific basis for the correct decision-making of governments at all levels. 2004 marks the 20th anniversary of CEOS. Officials and representatives from CEOS member, and those who have made outstanding contributions to CEOS gathered at the China World Center to celebrate the 20th anniversary of CEOS. Officials and experts from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), European Space Agency (ESA), US Geological Survey (USGS), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMESAT), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made important speeches on such topics as space, data and information management, calibration and validation, education and training as well as development strategy and looked to the future of earth observation technology and its application prospects. 

 International earth observation technologies and exhibitions consisting of the China Earth Observation Achievement Exhibition, the CEOS 20th Anniversary Achievements Exhibition, the CEOS Member Technological Achievements Exhibition, Domestic and Foreign Geospatial Information Technology and Applications were organized at the same time. The exhibitions of institutions such as Ministry of Land and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China Earthquake Administration, China Meteorological Administration, State Oceanic Administration, State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, China Center for Resources Satellite Data & Application, Chinese Academy of Space Technology showcased China’s technological progress and achievements in the earth observation field. Nearly 50 related institutions, international organizations and companies in the domestic and foreign earth observation field participated in the exhibition. The exhibition displayed achievements in the earth observation field, such as remote sensing, geospatial information systems, global positioning systems, Galileo Program, space science and space applications. 

Over 300 domestic and foreign experts and scholars attended the international workshop, with the theme of “Global Earth Observation Field Application and Development Strategy”. Focusing on earth observation technology and plan, study of water resources and water circulation with earth observation technology, disaster monitoring and management and the socio-economic effects, the experts and scholars discussed on the recent progress and future development strategy of earth observation technology. 

2004 is a year of special significance for international cooperation in the observation field. The Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) has started a new stage in earth observation and the application of such technology in economic and social development is also paving forward both in width and depth.