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In December 2018, GEO and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the Earth Observation Cloud Credits Programme, a joint collaboration to offer GEO members and research organizations access to AWS Cloud services to help countries realize the potential of Earth observations for sustainable development.

Access to and analysis of large volumes of Earth observation data is challenging for many of GEO’s members, particularly in developing countries where resources are limited and internet connectivity is poor or unreliable. To help address some of these challenges, the GEO-AWS Earth Observation Cloud Credits Programme offers developing countries access to complimentary cloud services to help with the hosting, processing and analysis of big data in the field of Earth observations.

Through this programme, GEO encouraged agencies and research organizations from GEO members categorized as Developing Countries by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to apply for cloud grants to support non-commercial projects. Agencies and organizations from a single country could apply for up to $60,000 of AWS Promotional Credits over a three-year period, while multinational projects could apply for up to $100,000 in AWS Promotional Credits over the same period. Submissions were accepted from December  2018 through April 2019.

Through this request for proposals, GEO has received and approved support for 21 projects which have received access to AWS Promotional Credits to offset the cost of developing cloud-based sustainability applications using Earth observations. Recipients of cloud credits through this initiative are also receiving support from the GEO community and AWS experts to refine and implement their projects for the best possible results.

Image by Rajiv Bajaj

Awardees span a broad range of applications from monitoring of wildfires, managing ground water resources, improving agricultural yield to mapping and monitoring of forested areas. All the awarded projects are contributing to activities of the GEO Work Programme, in particular GEO’s three engagement priorities: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement for Climate and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They will leverage Earth observation data from open, free, and fully accessible sources and are encouraged to use the GEOSS Platform the Registry of Open Data on AWS. The GEO Secretariat is also facilitating access to analysis-ready data from the Copernicus and Landsat programmes for projects wishing to make use of this data.

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