National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations

Each year, Federal agencies invest billions of dollars in Civil Earth Observations. Through these investments, the U.S. government ensures that the Nation’s decision makers have the information they need about climate and weather, disaster events, land-use change, ecosystem health, natural resources, and many other characteristics of the planet.

Section 702 of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, Instructs the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to establish a mechanism to ensure greater coordination of civilian Earth observations, including the development of a strategic implementation plan that will be updated at least every three years. 

In April 2013, the current version of the National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations was released to the public. This represents an important milestone on the path to ensuring the Nation’s Earth-observing capabilities efficiently address society’s most pressing needs.

The section of the report on Health issues includes societal benefits from the observation of air quality, aeroallergens, and infectious diseases, among many other factors. During natural and human-induced disasters, both existing observational data and real-time monitoring are needed to develop effective response measures that mitigate loss of life and property.