GEO and Google Earth Engine Select Eight African Projects for Funding

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and Google Earth Engine (GEE) have announced 32 projects from 22 countries that will be awarded USD 3 million towards production licenses and USD 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.

The Director of Google Earth, Earth Engine & Outreach, Rebecca Moore, mentioned that “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 honoured that Google Earth Engine can support the people behind these thirty-two winning projects as they tackle pressing global issues, from forest degradation and flood monitoring to natural resource management and global climate change.”

Out of the thirty-two projects, eight were selected from seven African countries. The projects are: 

  1. Urban Agricultural Intensity with SAR and optical RS, submitted by Faculty of Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering, Ethiopia
  2. Natural Resources Management, submitted by Kenya Space Agency, Kenya
  3. Multi-scale Flood Monitoring and Assessment Services for West Africa (MiFMASS), submitted by African Regional Centre for Space Science & Technology Education-English, Nigeria
  4. UK Space Agency – International Partnership Programme: Strengthening Public Policy from Space (SPPS): Satellite-enabled Data Services, submitted by African Regional Centre for Space Science & Technology Education-English, Nigeria
  5. Flood monitoring, submitted by Institute and Observatory of Geophysics, Antananarivo (IOGA), University of Antananarivo, Madagascar
  6. Sustainable Water Management for Agriculture, submitted by Laboratoire de Télédétection Appliquée (LTA) and Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE), Senegal
  7. Vegetation monitoring – Cape Floristic Region, submitted by South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), Fynbos Node, South Africa
  8. Sustainable water management, submitted by Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel (OSS), Tunisia

In an appreciation note, Maj. Gen. Thomas Chepkuto, Ag. Director-General, Kenya Space Agency, said “We are honoured for having been selected to benefit from the GEO-GEE unlimited license programme. This opportunity offers the Kenya Space Agency a platform to support the County Governments in Kenya to develop Earth Observation products and build their capacity on the adoption and utilization of space-derived data in decision making”.

Ganiyu Ishola Agbaje spoke on behalf of the African Regional Centre for Space Science & Technology Education-English (ARCSSTE-E). He said; “When successfully implemented, this action will provide tools, models, databases and systems that will enhance the information and knowledge base of the respective Disaster Monitoring Organisations (DMOs) across West Africa and subsequently reduce the enormity of losses that are normally associated with floods. Through tailor-made training, the action will positively impact on the technical expertise of these organizations to manage, maintain and expand the developed systems. Derivation of flood risk maps and identification of floodplains will assist in putting in place measures or policies that will prevent the development of flood hotspots into settlements. We are excited to have this opportunity and hope to make an impact by engaging the GEE technologies, and compute services, to generate products through the various available Application Programming Interface (APIs).”

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.

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