Based on the presentation of the GOCE User Toolbox Specification project at the GOCE 2006 workshop, participants acknowledged the importance of this activity to support the users of GOCE level 2 products to ensure the success of the GOCE mission, the oceanographic users being the most in need. See the Proceedings of 'The 3rd International GOCE User Workshop', ESA-ESRIN, Frascati, Italy, 6–8 November 2006, ESA SP-627, January 2007, where clear recommendations were issued. (GOCE Wokshops Proceedings)
Another important aspect was raised by the workshop participants concerning the quality of the currently available mean sea surface (MSS) models. Those models are old and their respective error characteristics are not sufficiently well described. Furthermore, standards for the data processing need to be developed. It was recommended that ESA initiate an activity to improve the mean sea surface modelling with a special focus on the coastal regions as well as on the description of its error characteristics.
During the workshop, additional concern with respect to the modelling of the error covariances of the GOCE geoid were expressed. For Solid Earth applications there is still a need to address this community for feedback on the toolbox specifications. A need for guidance in selecting proper digital elevation and bathymetry models was also identified.
A lot of progress has been achieved in these topics by the release of version 1 of the toolbox (April 2009), including DNSC08 mean sea surface and bathymetry and ACE2 digital elevation model, but more investigations are needed concerning the use of the MSS and the covariance matrix. That shall be accomplished in the third phase of the GUT project.
The GUT toolbox will be further developed through a collaborative effort in which the scientific communities participate. Originally, the idea about the scope of a GOCE toolbox came from the scientific users, especially from experience gained through GRACE data processing. The EU supported the GOCINA and GOCINO projects, which are another source of valuable information about the needs and solutions to be consulted while assessing GOCE user needs and developing toolbox functionalities. These needs will be continuously monitored for further evolutions. Any new effort should build directly on this insight and should expand on user needs in a flexible way.