Satellites orbiting Earth collect data on a wide variety of factors that are key to understanding and addressing global environmental challenges. Yet access to some of this data—including data from unclassified, government-owned satellites—remains restricted, finds a new book by former CISSM Scholar Mariel Borowitz.
“Open Space: The Global Effort for Open Access to Environmental Satellite Data,” which was published by MIT Press in December 2017, examines why some nations abandon restrictive data policies to embrace open data sharing, and why other nations continue to restrict access to their environmental satellite data.
The book looks specifically at how organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization, NOAA, and ESA have established different types of data sharing policies over time and how these policies have sometimes been explicitly geared toward data sharing so as to benefit environmental efforts.
"Experience in multiple space and meteorological agencies has shown that when data is made freely available, use of that data increases dramatically. Maximizing the use of the data ensures that the government—and society—get the most value for their investment," says Borowitz who is currently an Assistant Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech.
The book builds off Borowitz’s dissertation, “International Cooperation in Climate Monitoring via Satellite: Incentives and Barriers to Data Sharing,” which she completed in 2013 at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.