The broadest sense of observations from the natural environment concerning physical (including geological), chemical and biological properties of the environment. This includes observations collected on land, in air, in ice, in freshwater and in the coastal & marine environment, compliance or statutory information, Earth observations from space and the effects of humans on the environment. Note the exception is human health data.


The taking, on a reasonably regular basis, of any form of observations relative to the status of the environment, regardless of frequency of, or purpose for which, the observations are made, or however they are made (from satellites, ships, etc). Such observations are designed to meet a wide range of societal needs by providing a variety of products and services. Surveys are in scope for some work areas.


The catalogue records information on four monitoring types – activity, facility, network and programme.


An environmental monitoring activity is a monitoring campaign that is carried out with specific equipment for a specific period of time


An environmental monitoring programme is a related group of environmental monitoring campaigns which is policy-led and which is normally run over a long period (years or decades).


An environmental monitoring facility is a specific area (site) or object (station/sensor) which directly collects or processes data about environmental properties. Examples of facilities include:

Sites - e.g. a nature reserve
Stations - e.g. a weather station inside the nature reserve
Sensors - e.g. instruments on the station which are generating data


An environmental monitoring network is a group of related facilities managed for a specific purpose, targeting a specific area. This can be at an organisational, regional, national or international level.

These can be related. See: Relationships between monitoring types