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Hardcover | $40.00 Short | £32.95 | 432 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 4 b&w illus. | December 2017 | ISBN: 9780262037181
eBook | $28.00 Short | December 2017 | ISBN: 9780262343800
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Open Space

The Global Effort for Open Access to Environmental Satellite Data


Key to understanding and addressing climate change is continuous and precise monitoring of environmental conditions. Satellites play an important role in collecting climate data, offering comprehensive global coverage that can’t be matched by in situ observation. And yet, as Mariel Borowitz shows in this book, much satellite data is not freely available but restricted; this remains true despite the data-sharing advocacy of international organizations and a global open data movement. Borowitz examines policies governing the sharing of environmental satellite data, offering a model of data-sharing policy development and applying it in case studies from the United States, Europe, and Japan—countries responsible for nearly half of the unclassified government Earth observation satellites.

Borowitz develops a model that centers on the government agency as the primary actor while taking into account the roles of such outside actors as other government officials and non-governmental actors, as well as the economic, security, and normative attributes of the data itself. The case studies include the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS); the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT); and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA). Finally, she considers the policy implications of her findings for the future and provides recommendations on how to increase global sharing of satellite data.

About the Author

Mariel Borowitz is Assistant Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech.


“Sharing data acquired by orbiting satellites is a key to making possible effective short- and long-term global management of Planet Earth. Mariel Borowitz’s comprehensive and penetrating study of why many nations share Earth-observation data, but some do not, is an extremely valuable contribution to crafting a much needed international approach to such data sharing.”
John M. Logsdon, Professor Emeritus and Founder, Space Policy Institute, The George Washington University
“A superbly crafted and comprehensive exposition of environmental satellite data policy covering public and private sector value and use. Highly valuable and pertinent to understanding today’s rapidly changing environmental satellite market!”
Conrad C. Lautenbacher, VADM USN (ret); CEO, GeoOptics, Inc.; former NOAA Administrator
Open Space is a well-researched and clearly written piece of work at the juncture of public and environmental policy, and can change how governments view, and more importantly treat, data from their environmental satellites which could result in one of the greatest contributions to our understanding of, and actions for, the Earth.”
Barbara J. Ryan, Executive Director, Group on Earth Observations (GEO)