Earth Observation Data to Support the SDGs


Earth observations, geospatial information and big data support the implementation of the SDGs at national, regional and local levels, and the monitoring and reporting against the global indicator framework. Integrating all of these data is a quantum leap in how we monitor and track sustainable development and advance the well-being of our societies. 

Earth observation (EO) data and information, which include satellite, airborne, land and marine-based data, as well as model outputs, play an essential role in underpinning the environmental dimension of the SDGs. Combined with demographic, statistical, and other data, EO can be used for action and data-driven decision-making across government, and to support targeted development programmes.  

Earth observations can track global change in high resolution and in real time, and their use in SDG monitoring and decision-making is essential in capturing the sustainability of developments underpinning the SDG framework. EO has the potential to expand monitoring capabilities across sectors and provide more dynamic disaggregated data to help nations and other stakeholders make informed decisions, plans, and on-going adjustments that will contribute toward achieving the SDGs.

Earth observations and geospatial information can significantly reduce the costs of monitoring the achievement of SDGs and the associated targets and indicators, so that national governments can respond to local priorities using the resources available.  In addition, the capacity developed to acquire, analyze and utilize Earth observation data and geospatial information to support SDG implementation can provide developing countries and regions with increased opportunities to use these data for other policy-making purposes.  

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a partnership of governments and organizations that envisions a future wherein decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations.  GEO membership includes 103 Member governments and 103 Participating Organizations comprised of international bodies with a mandate in, and/or use of Earth observations.  As a network of countries and organizations focused on the use of Earth observations for social good, GEO will lead the development of this module that will address key questions such as:

  • What is Earth observation data and information?
  • How can EO data be accessed and used?
  • What are some of the methodological and technical approaches for applying these data to the SDG implementation?
  • What are some of the case studies (country-level examples) of methods to integrate EO in monitoring, planning, and reporting the SDGs?
  • How can the use of earth observation data be mapped specifically to the SDG global indicator framework to provide actionable information for informed decision making – and what about data gaps, or instances where data could give more information than the indicators require?
  • What is the technical, human and other capacity needed to implement successfully?
  • Are there institutional arrangements, public-private sector models or other models that should be considered to organize these efforts?

Stay tuned as this module is under development and will be available soon.  In the interim, presentations and supporting materials are provided below.

Contact Information

For further information, please contact Giovanni Rum, grum@geosec.org or Wenbo Chu, wchu@geosec.org  

supporting materials

National Workshop Presentation