By "implanting" smart sensors in strategically selected vulnerable locations/objects, and collecting and communicating data through various platforms from large satellite systems to mini-, micro- or nano-satellites operating at an altitude from a few dozens kilometers to 36,000 kilometers, it will enable a real-time detection for early warning of natural disasters such as land slides and forest fires, monitoring spreads of hazardous materials, and reporting the loss of those critical biodiversities which have been put under close surveillance. The information can be disseminated through a worldwide digital earth network ready for on-line processing, analysis and utilization.
FAO is a founder member of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), which plays a pivotal role in IGOS. The central mission of GTOS is to provide policy makers, resource managers and researchers with a decision support tool and access to the data needed to detect, quantify, locate, understand and warn of changes, especially reductions, in the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to support sustainable development. GTOS focuses on five issues of global concern: changes in land quality; availability of freshwater resources; loss of biodiversity; pollution, toxicity and climate change. This programme aims to provide guidance in data analysis and to promote integration of bio-physical and socio-economic geo-referenced data; interaction between monitoring networks, research programmes and policy makers; data exchange and application; and quality assurance and harmonization of measurement methods.