GEO AQ Community of Practice: Role, Mission, Objectives

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An ad-hoc group of air quality researchers and practitioners who have worked to build parts of the GEOSS information infrastructure are interested in forming a GEO Community of Practice. The formation and goals of a GEO AQ CoP will be discussed at the 18 November Air Quality and GEOSS meeting in Washington during the GEO-VI Plenary. A key outcome of the meeting could be for the group to draft a recommendation to GEO to formally recognize a GEO AQ CoP.

The role and focus of the CoP will be determined by its participants and will evolve over time with the participants. The ideas listed below are intended as a starting point to initiate discussion among the group as it begins to come together. These ideas are based on experiences in developing air quality communities of practice and developing air quality community components of the GEOSS information infrastructure.


Potential Roles

Communication / potential coordination among relevant projects

A primary role of the GEO AQ CoP is to serve as a forum for communication and collaboration among the many air quality projects relevant to GEOSS. A number of these projects are described here. These include initiatives mentioned in the GEO Work Plan, and a larger set of projects relevant to Work Plan Tasks, but not referenced there.

Advising GEO and GEO committees

As described below, GEO looks to Communities of Practice to inform them on user needs from a community. An example of this is the activity currently underway to document user requirements for air quality from GEOSS. Presently, no convenient mechanism exists for GEO to seek information from the AQ community. The GEO AQ CoP is envisioned to fill this gap.

Other GEO work and priorities need input and review from the AQ Community. These include:

  • The air quality Tasks in the GEO Work Plan. The CoP will review whether the Work Plan reflects the relevant activities underway, and particularly whether Tasks have participation from relevant activities.

Forum for developing standards and implementation guidelines

The CoP can serve as a forum to enhance standards for metadata, interoperability, and implementation practices for exposing data and services to GEOSS.

Community Building

The CoP will serve as a visible point-of-entry for members of the air quality community interested in finding ways to participate in GEOSS, and find out what GEOSS and can do for their work.

Background on GEO Communities of Practice

GEO View of Communities of Practice

Definition: A Community of Practice (CoP) is a user-led community of stakeholders, from providers to the final beneficiaries of Earth observation data and information, with a common interest in specific aspects of societal benefits to be realized by GEOSS implementation.

Objectives: Each CoP will have slightly different objectives, however common objectives will include:

  • Identify, gather, and seek agreement on their particular user community requirements;
    • GEO Task US0901a collects EO needs from users and makes explicit statement to "Wherever possible, the Advisory Groups involve members of the GEO Communities of Practice."
  • Provide a forum for cooperation of activities where GEOSS adds value to existing initiatives, to identify linkages and opportunities for collaborative strategic and technical projects and to coordinate the delivery of some GEOSS targets to enable the realization of societal benefits
  • Report on progress and provide updates to the User Interface Committee, GEO and other stakeholder communities as appropriate;
  • Advise the User Interface Committee, other CoPs and GEO on matters relating to their particular area of interest or societal benefit, and on cross-cutting issues of interest to the CoP.
  • Provide an informal point of contact for members or other jurisdictions on the specific benefit or interest area that affect more than one organization;

Participants: Each Community of Practice should include representatives from GEO Members, Participating Organizations and any other stakeholders that have similar interests, goals, and or objectives - working closely together to create a forum for efficient and effective intelligence and advice to be provided to GEO for the successful implementation of GEOSS. Both developing and developed countries will be represented.

More information on Communities of Practice

Logistics / Mechanics

The group will determine how often, and how, to meet. A collaborative website is expected to be used to foster interaction among the group and share its activities with GEO and other interested parties. Proposals such as monthly or quarterly teleconferences will be discussed. Meeting in-person during appropriate international meetings may also be appropriate.

These meetings will serve as an opportunity to learn about the activities of colleagues and find opportunities to collaborate, and an opportunity to discuss work the group will tackle (as a group).

GEO AQ Community of Practice Evolution

AQ CoP In the United States

AQ CoP In India

  • need input from Sethi

Geosciences CoP - Kastens, EOS

By K. A. Kartens, C. A. Manduca, C. Cervato, R. Frodeman, C. Goodwin, L. S. Liben, D. W. Mogk, T. C. Spandler, N. A. StIllings, S. Titus: How Geoscientists Think and Learn. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 31, 4 August 2009

A Community of Practice

Reflecting on the nature of geoscience thinking and learning reveals that geoscientists are not merely individuals who know a lot about the oceans, atmosphere, or solid Earth. Geoscientists make up a “community of practice,” who have been shaped by, and now embody, a distinctive suite of experiences, approaches, perspectives, and values. These include taking a long view of time, using temporal and spatial reasoning to formulate hypotheses and answer questions, interpreting observations in terms of a system of intertwined processes rather than a single independent variable, and building cascades of inscriptions that begin with the raw materials of nature and tap into powerful visualization techniques.

None of these attributes, taken individually, is unique to geosciences. Nor does every individual geoscientist have every one of these experiences, ascribe to every perspective, and utilize every approach. But taken collectively, this combination of attributes has proven valuable for answering questions and solving problems concerning the Earth and its environment.

  • Kim A. Kastens, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, Palisades, N. Y.; E-mail:;
  • Cathryn A. Manduca, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, Minn.;
  • Cinzia Cervato, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames;
  • Robert Frodeman, Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies, University of North Texas, Denton;
  • Charles Goodwin, Department of Applied Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles;
  • Lynn S. Liben, Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park;
  • David W. Mogk, Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman;
  • Timothy C. Spangler, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo.;
  • Neil A. Stillings, School of Cognitive Science, Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.; and
  • Sarah Titus, Department of Geology, Carleton College


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