24 July, 2020

GEO and Google Earth Engine projects announced

This announcement was initially written and published by the Group on Earth ObservationsHere is the original source.

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.


Winning Projects

The GEO-GEE Programme will launch an outreach and communications campaign led by EO Data Science which will feature the winning projects in a dedicated blog series over the next year, highlighting the teams, their approach and outcomes. Through effective science communication, this campaign will raise the profile of a wide range of researchers and policy makers through this programme. Discover the winning projects and hear from some of the awarded projects below:

Discover the full list of winning projects:


Submitting Organization(s)


Paddy Watch

Sydney Institute of Agriculture, The University of Sydney



College of Science and Engineering,

James Cook University


Alert System for Algal Bloom

Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil (UFPel)


Land Degradation Neutrality

Institute of Remote Sensing and

Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences



Instituto Alexander von Humboldt


Multi-temporal Change Detection

Profesional Especializado GIT.

Administración de la información geodésica, cartográfica y geográfica. Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi - IGAC


Coastal Erosion and Mangrove Ecosystems

Institute of Marine and Coastal Research


Deforestation / Forest Degradation

National Center for Geoenvironmental Information (CENIGA) of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) of Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Identification of Vulnerable Areas and / or Climatic Risks

Ministerio del Ambiente (Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment)


Urban Agricultural Intensity with SAR and optical RS

Faculty of Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering,

Institute of Water Technology,

Arba Minch University


Analysis Ready Data for Water Security

Pacific Community (SPC), Australian National University (ANU)


Coastal Ecosystems

German Aerospace Center (DLR)


Marine Coastal Eutrophication

Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University



Natural Resources Management

Kenya Space Agency



Ice Shelf Monitoring

Department of Geoscience & Remote Sensing

Delft University of Technology


i) Multi-scale Flood Monitoring and Assessment Services for West Africa (MiFMASS)

ii) UK Space Agency – International Partnership Programme: Strengthening Public Policy from Space (SPPS): Satellite-enabled Data Services

African Regional Centre for Space Science & Technology Education-English


Flood Monitoring

Institute and Observatory of Geophysics, Antananarivo (IOGA). University of Antananarivo


Large-Scale High-Resolution Detection of Vulnerable Settlements

National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI, Mexico)


Fire Danger Warning System



Sustainable water management for agriculture

Laboratoire de Télédétection Appliquée (LTA) and Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE)


Vegetation monitoring - Cape Floristic Region

South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON),

Fynbos Node

South Africa

Multidimensional Poverty Data - Africa

Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg and Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University.


Global environmental change monitoring

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Director, Division of Geoinformatics

Department of Urban Planning & Environment


Sustainable Water Management

Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel (OSS)



Deep Learning Methods for Land Cover and Land Use Classification

Space Research Institute NAS Ukraine and SSA Ukraine


Essential Biodiversity Variables - ScaleUp

University of Florida and Florida Museum of Natural History and

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)



University of Wisconsin-Madison

Space Science and Engineering


Trends.Earth - Supporting Land Degradation Neutrality

Ecosystem Analysis

Moore Center for Science, Conservation International


Ecological Integrity Index

Northern Arizona University



Disaster Forecasting, Mitigation, Response

 ImageCat, Inc


Monitoring Disasters Impacts on Land Cover in Coastal Zones of Egypt

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia


Environment and Climate Stress Index

UN Environment Programme


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