Satellite Data Archiving:

U.S. and Foreign Activities and Plans for Environmental Information

RCED-88-201: Published: Sep 29, 1988. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 1988.

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John M. Ols, Jr
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed U.S. and international environmental satellite data archiving activities and plans.

GAO found that: (1) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are primarily responsible for archiving environmental satellite data; (2) the agencies expect a significant future increase in satellite data and, to varying degrees, have begun planning for the expected increase; (3) NOAA is examining the possibility of private firms taking over its archiving functions; (4) NASA is planning on significant technological advances and interagency cooperation to archive data; and (5) possible future reductions in archiving funding could reduce USGS archiving activities. GAO also found that: (1) since 1977, Japan, France, India, and a group of 13 European countries have launched at least 9 environmental satellites; and (2) several countries have plans to launch at least 30 additional environmental satellites between 1988 and 1997.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress appropriated an increase of $2 million to FY 1990 Interior-USGS funds for archiving at the Interior-USGS Earth Resources Observation System Data Center. Transfer of responsibility from Commerce to Interior, as an amendment to the act, is still pending, but is expected.

    Matter: Considering that the Department of Commerce has not requested or provided funds for creating the National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive and that officials told GAO that they do not anticipate doing so in the future, Congress, if it still wants the archive to be created, may wish to provide specific funding for the archive.


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