This paper presents the results of research designed to explore the challenges involved in the use of Earth Observation (EO) data to support environmental management Brazil. While much has been written about the technology and applications of EO, the perspective of end-users of EO data and their needs has been under-explored in the literature. A total of 53 key informants in Brasilia and the cities of Rio Branco and Cuiaba were interviewed regarding their current use and experience of EO data and the expressed challenges that they face. The research builds upon a conceptual model which illustrates the main steps and limitations in the flow of EO data and information for use in the management of land use and land cover (LULC) in Brazil. The current paper analyzes and ranks, by relative importance, the factors that users identify as limiting their use of EO. The most important limiting factor for the end-user was the lack of personnel, followed by political and economic context, data management, innovation, infrastructure and IT, technical capacity to use and process EO data, bureaucracy, limitations associated with access to high-resolution data, and access to ready-to-use product. In general, users expect to access a ready-to-use product, transformed from the raw EO data into usable information. Related to this is the question of whether this processing is best done within an organization or sourced from outside. Our results suggest that, despite the potential of EO data for informing environmental management in Brazil, its use remains constrained by its lack of suitably trained personnel and financial resources, as well as the poor communication between institutions.
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