The demand for the rapid provision of EO products with well-defined characteristics in terms of temporal, spatial, image-specific and thematic criteria is increasing. Examples are products to support near real-time damage assessment after a natural disaster event, e.g. an earthquake. However, beyond the organizational and economic questions, there are technological and systemic barriers to enable a comfortable search, order, delivery or even combination of EO products. Most portals of space agencies and EO product providers require sophisticated satellite and product knowledge and, even worse, are all different and not interoperable.
This paper gives an overview about the use cases and the architectural solutions that aim at an open and flexible EO mission infrastructure with application-oriented user interfaces and well-defined service interfaces based upon open standards. It presents corresponding international initiatives such as INSPIRE (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community), GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) and HMA (Heterogeneous Missions Accessibility) and their associated infrastructure approaches. The paper presents a corresponding analysis and design methodology and two examples how such
architectures are already successfully used in early warning systems for geo-hazards and toolsets for environmentallyinduced
health risks. Finally, the paper concludes with an outlook how these ideas relate to the vision of the Future Internet.