CIESIN, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, is a research unit of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, based at Columbia’s Lamont campus in Palisades, New York.

CIESIN works at the intersection of the social, natural, and information sciences, and specializes in state-of-the-art data and information management, spatial data integration and training, and interdisciplinary research and education related to human interactions in the environment. With more than 40 professional staff with expertise in a range of natural, social, health, and computer science fields, CIESIN is able to move beyond the traditional boundaries of academic research and education to support real-world decision making and practical applications.

CIESIN is a nongovernmental organization recognized by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is active in a variety of networks and organizations addressing pressing issues of sustainable development, climate change, disaster risk management, scientific data stewardship, and geospatial data and information management. Specific areas of expertise include demographic analysis, integration of remote sensing and social science data, Internet mapping and visualization, environment-security interactions, climate and migration, indicator development, and long-term data management.

CIESIN has operated the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) for more than 20 years, providing unique global and regional data products and services used widely in research, decision making, applications, and education. CIESIN's staff have extensive experience in education and training, providing a variety of courses at Columbia University, contributing to a range of secondary and informal education projects, and offering hands-on training seminars and classes around the world. CIESIN maintains a state-of-the-art computer facility that supports both internal analytic and data management needs and a variety of highly reliable and secure interoperable services and web resources for public use.

Priorities as a partner of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

1) Maintain an active archive of global-scale spatial data containing high-quality, fully documented, standards-compliant, subnational data identified as being of top priority for SDG purposes, at the highest practical resolution, on issues such as demography; transportation and other infrastructure; poverty; and vulnerability and resilience related to climate change and disasters.

2)  Produce a "Living Manual" documenting proven and promising innovations that help countries to identify the most useful data for their specific SDG challenges; to design data collection strategies that are cost-effective; and to build data institutions that are sustainable and integrated.

3) Support a global community of practice aimed at making subnational data on population, settlements, and infrastructure more accessible, more comparable, better validated, and more tightly tailored to priority SDG applications.

4) Provide open access tools and services for mapping and visualization of key sustainable development data layers and indicators to support applications, research, education, and training needs.