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Tools for Data Collection and Mapping: the Ground to the Cloud Story

As the public demands economic accountability and sustainability, organizations need tools that help scale their work, make their data more accessible, and increase transparency around their work. The Rio+20 agenda recognizes that it is ‘essential to work towards universal access to information and communications technologies.’ This side event features WRI and other key organizations at the forefront of the application of these technologies, working on the ground to develop means to enable citizens, businesses and governments to harness the power of the cloud.

We are losing equivalent to 21-30 soccer fields per minute of tropical forest. Powered by Google Earth Engine, World Resource Institute’s and partners’ new forest monitoring system called Global Forest Watch 2.0 will unite technology, transparency, and human networks to mobilize faster, more effective forest conservation and sustainable forest management. It combines a novel near-real-time deforestation alert system, complimentary satellite data and systems, a treasure trove of WRI and partner maps, mobile technology, and a networked world to create never-before-possible transparency. This transparency will empower NGOs, the media, and progressive public and private sector leaders to hold governments and companies publicly accountable for forest conservation and sustainable management at a pace that matches the modern world and the threats facing forests.

Discover free, open source or software grants for tools that allow for managing, analyzing, cartographically styling, sharing and hosting the data in the cloud infrastructure. Learn about the latest technologies that enable better governance through transparency, accessibility of information and scalability of technologies. Learn how maps can change the world

Organizing partners

  • Google Earth Outreach
  • Imazon – Amazon Institute of People and the Environment
  • World Resources Institute
  • Forest Trends
  • Metareila
  • IDESAM
  • Governor’s Climate and Forests Taskforce
  • Fundação Amazonas Sustentável
  • Aliança da Terra
  • Equipe de Conservacao da Amazonia (ECAM)
  • Jane Goodall Institute
  • Global Canopy Programme

About our partners

For over 21 years, Imazon – Amazon Institute of People and the Environment has issued reports on Brazil’s deforestation rates, and the contribution of Brazilian deforestation to global carbon emissions, using a satellite-based deforestation detection system called the Deforestation Alert System. Today, Imazon is using Google Earth Engine for forest change detection in satellite imagery to monitor deforestation and forest degradation in the Brazilian Amazon, as well as open-source ODK for validating the results of the remote sensing analysis using Android smartphones.

Organizations such as Fundação Amazonas Sustentável (FAS) are partners of Imazon and the RAISG network who have been using ODK to validate the remote sensing results for the Bolsa Floresta program. FAS collects data to promote Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) and contributes to the implementation, transparency and efficiency of the Deforestation Alert System. Meanwhile, Global Canopy Programme (GCP) is working with indigenous communities in Guyana to link local monitoring using ODK to national level forest degradation monitoring, reporting and verification.

The Surui Forest Carbon Project, led by the indigenous Surui people, has been using these technologies to enter the carbon credit marketplace in Brazil. Equipe de Conservacao da Amazonia (ECAM) and IDESAM have put Android devices into the hands of the Surui to measure carbon in their forest. After years of gathering baseline data and creating the most efficient monitoring, reporting and verification methodologies to meet their needs, the Surui people will sell carbon credits. In addition, they are now mapping their ancestral cultural traditions using Google Earth.

In Africa, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has been using ODK on Android smartphones and tablets to empower local communities to better manage and monitor their forests. In western Tanzania, with support from USAID, JGI is developing skills, knowledge, ownership, and ability to manage land use and monitor Village Forest Reserves using ODK and smartphones in 49 villages. In Uganda and Tanzania, JGI is using ODK and tablets to conduct detail inventory and mapping of private forest owners and village forest monitoring to support country's preparedness for REDD. In partnership with Woods Hole Research Center and support of Norwegian Government, JGI has been applying Google Earth Engine technology to build capacity in Tanzania for monitoring biomass and carbon in dry tropical forests and Miombo woodlands.

We will discuss new technologies that help organizations increase accessibility, scalability and transparency of their data to support a growing green economy. Through Aliança da Terra’s voluntary Registry of Social and Environmental Responsibility (CCS), landowners commit to practice sustainable land and farming practices. Aliança da Terra uses Google Maps Engine as part of their system of geographic data collection and management, as well as the publishing of maps on their website.

The Governor’s Climate and Forests Taskforce seeks tools for improved forest governance, more transparency and better public accountability for the REDD activities in its 16 member states and provinces. These states and provinces are focused on the development of rules and capabilities necessary to generate compliance-grade assets from jurisdictional REDD programs. Member states also seek to share geospatial information with each other and with national and international entities, and they are using Google technology to develop a platform to meet their various spatial data analysis and management needs.

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