DIGITAL EARTH AMERICAS
& THE SDGs
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico (INEGI) organized and hosted a Virtual Workshop titled "Digital Land of the Americas".
The main objective of this event was to propose an initial scheme for the project "Digital Earth Americas," with a plan that makes it possible to build operational, analytical, sovereign and open capacity in users from the Americas region for the analysis, use and management of satellite images through the Open Data Cube.
Common needs in the region could be addressed more efficiently as the use of this data solution can also be coordinated with other data solutions in the region or similar data solutions in other regions to take advantage of the strengths of each initiative and to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. Hence, the initial focus of this regional platform is the support to the SDGs, a need that is transversal to the region and globally.
While data and technology are available from many sources around the world, there are still significant challenges regarding data access, data preparation, human and technical capacity; focusing on SDGs, the main data source types and methodologies used would be standard and common to any user. A regional cloud-based satellite data solution built with open-source software that uses analysis-ready data, as well as tools that are already implemented, would significantly benefit country analyses and reporting.
For example, this infrastructure could support monitoring efforts for SDG-2.4.1 (agriculture extent), SDG-6.3.2 (water quality), SDG-6.6.1 (water extent), SDG-11.3.1 (urbanization), SDG-15.1.1 (deforestation), and SDG-15.3.1 (land degradation). Equally, countries could use such a platform to support local and national decision making to address applications such as vegetation phenology, land use and land change, disaster risk reduction, and illegal mining.