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Land cover data just got real-time

by Siddhi Ashar, Jun 12
2 minutes read

With our planet constantly facing environmental disasters such as floods and increasing wildfires or the effects of human activity such as rampant deforestation for development, governments, thinktanks, or even businesses need detailed data of these shifts to track changes and develop preventative measures rapidly. Land data in real-time has faced hurdles with variations in land types, terrains, urban developments, and government access.

aerial photography of green field surrounded with body of water

World Resources Insitute has partnered with Google Earth Engine to create the open-source data set, Dynamic World where scientists and policymakers can now access land cover data almost near time and monitor ecosystems with unprecedented detail.

So what?

Existing datasets are limited by their categorization of singular land types or singular landscapes between cities or villages. This technology could help emphasize the dynamic nature of our current dwellings where the natural and man-made interact and influence each other. These connections could help public, private, and non-profit sectors to find more integrated approaches to restore and protect land health as unforeseen climate effects threaten areas.

Such real-time land monitoring could also play a role in supporting ethnographic efforts of understanding people’s relationship with the land and how this data could support ground efforts such as indigenous communities actively preserving their lands or how local communities are restoring ecosystems to build climate resiliency.

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by Siddhi Ashar Spotted 26 signals

With a background in international studies and filmmaking, Siddhi works with the Futures Centre team to creatively push our current imaginaries and create more positive visions of futures rooted in equity. Her works centers around challenging common narratives and working agilely to bring forth more representative ones. Through her role at the Futures Centre, she focuses on the answering the question, how can better climate communication and visioning help stakeholders work together and act intently, empathetically and urgently?

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