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RCA-EO is a cohesive set of analytical functions and information under development within the USGS Land Remote Sensing (LRS) Program.

What is Requirements Capabilities and Analysis for Earth Observations (RCA-EO)?

RCA-EO is a cohesive set of analytical functions and information under development within the USGS Land Remote Sensing (LRS) Program. The activities of RCA-EO include collecting and interpreting the Earth observation (EO) requirements of USGS and other Federal agencies, identifying EO capabilities that can potentially meet these requirements, measuring the ability of Earth observations to support Federal agencies and societal needs, and informing the development of improved, cost-effective observation systems, products, and services based on user requirements.

The Earth Observation Requirements Evaluation System (EORES) is the RCA-EO system architecture. EORES provides a long-term capability to collect, maintain, and analyze EO requirements and EO capabilities. EORES contains relational databases, user interfaces, and analysis tools. EORES is a joint development project between LRS and NOAA’s Technology, Planning and Integration for Observation (TPIO) program. EORES builds on NOAA’s requirements activities and combines the expertise and interests of both agencies. EORES capabilities and staff expertise are also being leveraged by the Office of Science and Technology Policy for conducting the 2016 Earth Observation Assessment, which will inform the next National Plan for Civil Earth Observations.

Why do we need RCA-EO?

The USGS and other Federal agencies collectively invest billions of dollars each year to develop, deploy, and maintain diverse EO observation systems, products, and services across a multitude of programs and functions. These capabilities are used to protect lives and property, maintain safety and health, protect natural resources, support economic activity, and expand our understanding of the changing Earth. However, there is no comprehensive effort to gather and analyze Federal civil EO requirements to optimize their use and to guide future EO developments and investments. RCA-EO was established to address this need, primarily for the USGS, but also as a resource for other Federal agencies.

The RCA-EO project goals are to provide a:

  • Comprehensive view of user requirements and EO system capabilities
  • Structured method to examine the value of an individual observing system, product, or service in meeting strategic mission goals, and science and operational applications
  • Data-driven basis for directing investments in new EO capabilities to meet evolving needs or identified gaps in capabilities


Strategic Uses

Requirements will be assembled and viewed in multiple ways by Federal agency, program, or by areas of national priority, such as hazards mitigation and natural resource management. For the USGS Land Remote Sensing Program, requirements and analysis capabilities are being designed to support the following types of management decisions:

  • Assessing the value of a given or planned system capability or product to meet the specific Earth observation needs of LRS stakeholders
  • Assuring that products and services meet organizational goals and objectives
  • Informing program planning and budget development
  • Evaluating EO systems capabilities, products, and services against stakeholder needs
  • Informing agency decision making in the context of societal benefit areas