Harvesting the power of open-source software and cloud computing for evaluation of changes in primary productivity

Authors: Monica Noon*, Conservation International, Mariano Gonzalez-Roglich, Conservation International, Alex Zvoleff, Conservation International
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Remote Sensing, Africa
Keywords: land degradation, remote sensing, SDGs, open source, Google Earth Engine, primary productivity, MODIS, NDVI
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon D1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is ramping up efforts to report degradation at the country level in 2018 to move towards policy targets in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a result, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) challenged Conservation International to create a free tool to report changes in productivity at various scales using earth observation, a component of addressing SDG 15.3. A partnership between, Conservation International, Lund University and NASA formed to: 1) establish methods for assessing and monitoring the status and trends of land degradation; 2) demonstrate methods and platforms to enable adoption of standardized methods and tools; and 3) develop capacity to use the toolbox for reporting.
To ensure sustainability of the project, CI developed the Land Degradation Monitoring Toolbox plugin in QGIS that pairs open-source software with free cloud computing (Google Earth Engine). This allows users to access remote sensing imagery time series for any country or region of the world and run analyses on Google servers through a familiar interface. The talk will discuss the journey of tool development and capacity building in four pilot countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Senegal.

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