Barbara J. Ryan is Secretariat Director of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) located in Geneva, Switzerland. In this capacity, she leads the Secretariat in coordinating the activities of 104 Member States and the European Commission and 106 Participating Organizations that are integrating Earth observations so that informed decisions can be made across eight Societal Benefit Areas, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sustainability, Disaster Resilience, Energy and Mineral Resources Management, Food Security, Infrastructure & Transportation Management, Public Health Surveillance, Sustainable Urban Development and Water Resources Management.
Before becoming GEO Director in July 2012, Ryan served as Director of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Space Programme with responsibility for coordinating space-based observations to meet the needs of WMO Members in the topical areas of weather, water, climate and related natural disasters.
Before joining WMO in October 2008, she was the Associate Director for Geography at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Reston, Virginia where she had responsibility for the Landsat, remote sensing, geography and civilian mapping programs of the agency. It was under her leadership that implementation of the Landsat data policy was reformed to release all data over the internet at no additional cost to the user -- an action that has resulted in the global release of more than 41 million Landsat scenes to date, and significant economic returns globally.
Ryan holds a Bachelor´s degree in Geology from the State University of New York at Cortland, a Master´s degree in Geography from the University of Denver, and a Master´s degree in Civil Engineering from Stanford University. She has been awarded an honorary doctorate of science degree from the State University of New York at Cortland.