32 projects to be funded by GEO and Google Earth Engine to solve world’s greatest challenges

The GEO-GEE Programme is also supporting projects with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) to use Google Earth Engine to support climate change and disaster monitoring activities over the next two years.

32 projects to be funded by GEO and Google Earth Engine to solve world’s greatest challenges
32 projects to be funded by GEO and Google Earth Engine to solve world’s greatest challenges

32 projects to be funded by GEO and Google Earth Engine to solve world’s greatest challenges

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and Google Earth Engine (GEE) have announced 32 projects from 22 countries that will be awarded $3 million USD towards production licenses and $1 million in technical support from EO Data Science to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges using open Earth data.

The GEO-GEE Programme is also supporting projects with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) to use Google Earth Engine to support climate change and disaster monitoring activities over the next two years.

“Impact begins with insights. Organizations globally are using Google Earth Engine to achieve an unprecedented understanding of our changing environment and turn data into action,” said Rebecca Moore, director of Google Earth, Earth Engine & Outreach “We are honored that Google Earth Engine can support the people behind these 32 winning projects as they tackle pressing global issues, from forest degradation and flood monitoring, to natural resource management and global climate change.”

Last year, GEO and Google Earth Engine announced a call to action for Earth observations projects monitoring the pulse of the planet to apply for the GEO-GEE Programme. More than 50 projects were submitted from around the globe on a range of social and environmental topics including climate monitoring, water and coastal observations, sustainable development and other key areas related to environmental protection and conservation.

Today the winning proposals begin a two-year journey to produce tangible societal benefits using the power of Earth observations coupled to Google Earth Engine. In partnership with EO Data Science, the winners are receiving in-kind technical support, mentoring and ongoing capacity development to ensure projects achieve their intended impact.

Through a careful review process, the GEO-GEE programme has selected proposals from organizations and initiatives that will deliver significant impact using Earth observations and data science with respect to improved decision making.

Projects with direct relevance to global policy agendas including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as ocean conservation and biodiversity preservation were encouraged and considered essential elements of the proposals.

The winning projects are responding to a wide range of environmental and social challenges using real-time Earth observation data coupled with cloud computing, some of which include: mapping poverty data and vulnerable settlements, deforestation and land degradation, flood warnings, marine coasts, ice shelf monitoring, environment and climate stress, food and agriculture and many more.

“GEO is very proud to be supporting these projects in collaboration with Google Earth Engine and EO Data Science. I am thoroughly impressed with the number, quality and the diversity of proposals we received. The diversity in terms of the topics, regions and approaches is a testament to the fact the Earth observations are instrumental for a wide range of applications and solutions,” said Gilberto Camara, GEO secretariat director.

“The results of these projects will help GEO fulfil our mission globally to improve decision making with EO data. Several of the winning solutions are focused on GEO’s priorities around Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development. We look forward to their evolution and the open solutions they produce,” Camara explained.

GEO is an Intergovernmental Partnership of 111 countries and coordinates over 60 global  activities in the GEO Work Programme. GEO’s mission is to inform decision making and enable better policies through open Earth observation data, information and knowledge. The GEO network will ensure that the beneficiaries receive support as they deliver data, insights and key findings to reach critical decision makers across the globe.

The GEO-GEE programme is carried out in cooperation with the GEO Secretariat, GEO Programme Board, Google and EO Data Science. Google is providing production licenses to use GEE and EO Data Science is providing ongoing technical support, mentoring and capacity development support through a targeted outreach programme.

“Our team is looking forward to supporting the successful projects over the next two years. We were very impressed with the quality of applications, particularly the potential they have to enact positive change and significantly impact global challenges through the use of Earth Observations,” said Nathan Eaton, executive director at EO Data Science.

Open Data for Better Decisions

Open data is instrumental in providing the necessary insights for assessing the constant changes happening on our planet. With these insights, decision makers can take the critical actions possible to address urgent environmental challenges. Using open data in a sustained production environment, these projects will make their findings openly available for decision makers.   

Google Earth Engine combines a multi-petabyte catalog of satellite imagery and geospatial datasets with planetary-scale analysis capabilities and makes it available for scientists, researchers, and developers to detect changes, map trends, and quantify differences on the Earth’s surface. With access to the Google Earth Engine, researchers and organizations can better map, measure and monitor our changing planet with decision-relevant geographical data.