experience of the community of end users and to create pathways for feedback on the performance of the environmental satellite sensors and missions.
Two formats for user participation have been successful. One is the formation of a panel or team (sometimes called science teams or expert panels) that has diverse representation inclusive of end users external to the agency responsible for the sensor. This team works on sampling characteristics, algorithm development, and data quality, beginning prior to launch and following through after launch. The science teams have achieved close engagement by some end users and added the value of intense external consideration of performance.
A second approach to gaining user participation and better suited for seeking guidance for planning future satellite observations is the convening of user workshops. These can, for example, be focused on a specific observable, such as soil moisture; on a possible mission, such as measuring sea-surface salinity; or on the suite of instrumentation to be flown on a family of satellites, such as NPOESS. The participants provide feedback on the performance of current missions and on what new observations, new sampling characteristics, or new accuracies are needed to achieve their goals.