Earth observation is the gathering of information about planet Earth’s physical, chemical and biological systems. It involves monitoring and assessing the status of, and changes in, the natural and man-made environment.
How can EO be utilized by the development community?
EO services are useful tools in providing a wide range of environmental information to support the monitoring and management of development projects and assist evidence based decision making. The particular advantages of EO in this context are:
Establish projects’ baseline from the satellite archive, against which changes can be detected and offset measures can be determined. EO information allows access to an information technology for which there is long-term continuity for the past and future decades;
Check the progress and environmental impact of projects at the regional and global scale. EO assessments can be undertaken at a variety of spatial scales from the neighborhood level to the global level;
Provide access to information that is non-intrusive, objective and consistent around the globe, consequently providing global data sets to address global problems;
Provide data from regions where data cannot be obtained from fieldwork;
Identify “hot spot” regions, which would require further attention and field surveys;
Support a dialogue with local stakeholders (often with divergent views) by putting environmental issues in a spatial context, in a consistent and objective manner.