Advancing the use of Earth Observation Data for critical issues relating to Land, Climate, Food and Nutrition in AFRICA

The GEO Highlights 2017-2018 Report - published by Group on Earth Observations (GEO) - showcases some exemplary use-cases gathered from across GEO’s Work Programme activities, and represents contributions from among the 100 GEO member countries and more than 120 partners supporting GEO’s mission.

The report highlights efforts the GEO community has made over the past year transforming Earth observations into knowledge and tools for sustainable development. Among these efforts, the report focuses also on several initiatives in Africa advancing the use of Earth Observation data for critical issues relating to land degradation neutrality, air pollution, food security, disaster risk reduction and other challenges.

Africa & GEO: focusing on concrete actions

Africa Regional Data Cube

The initiative lays groundwork for first continental-scale access to analysis ready data (ARD).

Launched in May 2018, Africa Regional Data Cube is a tool that harnesses the latest Earth observation and satellite technology to help Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Tanzania address food security, as well as issues relating to agriculture, deforestation, and water access.

GEO is now working with its partners to scale up this project to the whole of Africa, to help improve understanding of Africa’s changing landscape, providing much-needed insights, knowledge and ARD for more informed, strategic and inclusive decision-making across the continent.

Kenya’s first national crop monitor

The project aims to strengthen food security.

In 2018, Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries issued the country’s first national crop monitor, with support from NASA SERVIR, Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), and GEO Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM).


The Initiative focuses on four key thematic areas: adaptation to climate change, improved food security and water extremes management, access to raw materials, and access to energy.

GEO-CRADLE promotes the sustainable and continuous uptake and exploitation of Earth observation services and data in North Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans, and the implementation of GEOSS and Copernicus in response to regional needs.

Recently, GEO-CRADLE has launched Regional Tools for Soil Spectroscopy and climate data access.

A Regional Soil Spectral Library (SSL) for North Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans has been developed as part of the GEO-CRADLE pilot project ‘Improved Food Security - Water Extremes Management’. Healthy soils provide essential services such as food production, prevention of land degradation, water quality, and they act as carbon sinks. Monitoring of soil quality and soil properties is necessary to ensure these benefits are realized. One of the most important technologies used to monitor soils is soil spectroscopy, which uses the spectral information of soil samples to derive their properties, including soil degradation, moisture content, chemistry composition, pedogenesis, geochemistry, physics, microbiology, mineralogy, mining and more. The Regional Soil Spectral Library enables researchers and decision makers to explore a regional soil spectral dataset that contains metadata on the soils sampled, their key properties, and their spectral signature.

As part of the GEO-CRADLE ‘Adaptation to Climate Change’ pilot project, the Data Extraction Application for Regional Climate (DEAR-Clima) was developed. DEARClima is an interactive web application tool that visualizes and provides time series of essential climate variables and climate indices based on high horizontal resolution Regional Climate Model (RCM) simulations from the Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) research programme. Open, reliable and user friendly access to future climate change data from high resolution RCM projections is essential to support decision makers, stakeholders, intermediary users and end-users for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Africa & GEO... looking forward

Since July 2017, GEO’s Executive Committee has approved 127 GEO Participating Organizations, among which there are AFRICAN Climate Change Research Centre (ACCREC) and Central AFRICAN Forest Commission (COMIFAC) representing African continent.

The number of new Earth observation data providers contributing to the GEOSS Platform has grown significantly each year, and now includes more than 180 brokered data catalogues from over 7,000 data providers, and consists of 415 million discoverable Earth observations. Among new data catalogues added to the GEOSS Platform (see p. 19 of the Report), there is also Economic Community of West AFRICAN States (ECOWAS).

Download the GEO Highlights 2017-2018 Report and read more featuring global stories from the GEO community on the use of Earth Observation data.


4 - 9 November 2019, Canberra, Australia will welcome the global Group on Earth Observations (GEO) community of practitioners, policy experts and decision makers for for the 2019 GEO Ministerial Summit: ‘Investing in Earth Observations’Ministers from GEO’s 105 Member Countries are expected to come together in support of activities that enable the use of Earth observation data, information and services for better decision making across a range of crucial development and environmental issues, including the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.