Data and services Research infrastructure for the Earth System: from data to knowledge of the Earth System


The society and the Earth system are facing major changes at an unprecedented rate. Anthropic pressure is the source of, or requires a better understanding of, many issues impacting our societies: climate change, pollution, environmental and health risks, access to resources and energy, digital transition, etc.

The integrated knowledge of the Earth system is based on data acquired by satellites, ships, aircraft or sounding balloons, as well as by in situ measurement instruments, but also on transformed data. This digital information (acquisition and transformed data) is a heritage to be preserved over the long term.

Facilitating access to quality data and information products on all compartments of the Earth system, regardless of their nature, mode of collection or location, is a key challenge. This requires interoperable infrastructures to accelerate the extraction, analysis, dissemination and intelligent use of data, indicators and models from national and international observing systems.

Dedicated to the scientific community as well as public and socio-economic actors, these multi-source data, products and services are accessible through a distributed data and services infrastructure for integrated observation and knowledge of the Earth system. Coordinating, federating and optimising all the existing institutions, systems and resources is one of the major ambitions of Data Terra, on a national scale, but also on European and international scale.

Observing, analysing, understanding and predicting in an integrated way the history, functioning and evolution of the Earth system subject to global change is a fundamental research challenge. It is also a necessity for the implementation of the objectives of public policies for sustainable development.


Data Terra mission is to organise data access in an integrated way, making available data, products and services related to Earth system observations via the thematic poles:

  • AERIS : Atmosphere
  • FORM@TER : Solid Earth
  • THEIA : Continental surfaces
  • ODATIS : Ocean and nearshore

and transversal services for data discovery, access and management (FAIR), regular production, on-demand processing following the domains.


CNRS/INSU, CNES, IFREMER, INRAE, IRD, Météo-France, IGN, IPGP, CEA, SHOM, BRGM, CEREMA, CIRAD, INERIS, ONERA, Observatoire Côte d’Azur, Observatoire de Paris, École Polytechnique, Sorbonne Université, Université de Lille, Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier , AgroParisTech, Université Grenoble-Alpes, Université Clermont-Auvergne, Université Strasbourg, Région Hauts de France.

DATA TERRA in figures

4 poles, transversal services including DINAMIS for access to spatial data, 25 data and service centres (CDS) and spatial data infrastructures (IDS), 30 consortia of scientific expertise. More than 400 scientists, engineers and technicians from more than 34 organisations and universities mobilised (175 FTEs in 2018), for a full-cost budget of 40 million euros per year on average. More than 15,000 users of data, products and services; data volume of 50 Peta bytes in 2018, 150 Peta in 2025.

[1] FAIR : Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable

Main Objectives

To develop a global system of access to data, products and services to observe, understand and predict in an integrated manner the history, functioning and evolution of the Earth System subject to global change.

  • facilitate access to quality data and products across all compartments of the Earth system,
  • promote mutualisation, interoperability, the emergence of multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches and innovation for scientific advances and the emergence of new services,
  • to serve the scientific communities, actors of public action and innovation,

implement integrated approaches, at national, European and international level, for the use of Earth Observation data and derived information.

Specific objectives

Disseminate these data, information and knowledge at national, European and international levels,

Contribute to space missions, observation networks, partnerships in support of public policies for sustainable development,

  • coordinating, federating and optimising, within the same research infrastructure, all existing institutions, systems and resources,
  • have a European and international ambition in the field.

With time evolve toward a virtual observatory of the Earth System.