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The OTA was asked by the Senate Armed Services Committee to investigate the plethora of formats for remotely sensed Earth data. At a workshop held on October 2, 1992, participants discussed the pros and cons of standardizing formats for remote-sensed data, the question of how many different standards are needed, with what else should remote-sensed data be compatible, and who should set the standards. The discussion closed with the participants’ views as to what actions could be taken by Congress.
Although the attendees were from the national security community, the discussions concerned primarily the use of data from civilian Earth remote sensing satellite systems: that is systems such as Landsat that were built and operated primarily to provide data to the scientific and civil commercial sectors. Data from these systems are bought and extensively used by the military and intelligence communities. The need to integrate data from military-unique systems as well only complicates the situation.