FAO and NASA launch Collect Earth Online tool to track landscapes, land-use, disasters

A new tool developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aims to allow users to “systematically inspect” any location on Earth – from glaciers to rainforests - with satellite data. Collect Earth Online (CEO), announced on 12 December 2018, is also expected to be utilized in disaster management.

The web-based platform is free of charge, open to all and it does not require any download or installation. CEO will provide users with access to high-resolution satellite imagery from multiple sources as well as historical imagery and mosaics from NASA’s Landsat network and the European Union’s Sentinel system.

CEO will also allow users to undertake a variety of tasks including the tracking of landscapes and land-use. In particular, the use of innovative forest and land monitoring tools and technologies by CEO will allow reference data for forest and other landscape assessments to be produced rapidly.

This next generation tool will also make it easier to conduct surveys, collect samples and use crowdsourcing techniques – a method which is particularly useful during disasters and emergencies given the need for timely information to facilitate better responses.

CEO is now available through FAO's Open Foris - a collection of open-source software tools that facilitate flexible and efficient data collection, analysis and reporting for environmental monitoring. CEO will particularly amplify the power of FAO's Open Foris Collect Earth tool, which for the past number of years has enabled the collection of data on land use, deforestation and other purposes with the help of satellite imagery. CEO will also become a central technology supporting FAO's global Remote Sensing Survey which provides estimates of forest area and changes at global, regional and biome level.

In 2019, CEO will be integrated into FAO’s cloud-based platform - the System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing and Analysis for Land Monitoring (SEPAL) - which helps countries to measure, monitor and report on forests and land use. This integration will make it easier to link reference data directly to processing chains to generate accurate and transparent maps, data and statistics. 

“The addition of Collect Earth Online to FAO’s Open Foris further strengthens the comprehensive set of innovative tools for measuring, monitoring and reporting on forests and land use. Collect Earth Online when used in combination with SEPAL will allow countries to advance quickly in the fight against climate change,” says Tiina Vahanen, REDD+/National Forest Monitoring Coordinator at FAO.

In 2019, CEO will also integrate TimeSync, a NASA Landsat time series visualization tool and web application created by Oregon State University and the United States Forest Service that can be used to visualize change on the Earth’s surface.

CEO was developed with support from the Google Earth Engine Team and the US Government's SilvaCarbon Program.

CEO can be accessed by registering on the platform here.