Unlocking Earth Observation data to create economic & societal benefits

Focus of thematic cluster

At a time of digital revolution and exponential data growth, the UN call for authoritative, reliable, repeatable and fit-for-purpose data. Such data are fundamental for evidence-based decision-making, needed to address the Agenda 2030 development challenges and to leave no one behind

Recent technological innovations, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing, are accelerating the ongoing geospatial information paradigm shift from mass production (data, images, maps) to mass customisation (web information services, personalised products). It is expected that the use of information products and services based on Earth Observation (EO) data will grow. Also, new applications will be introduced to maximise the economic and societal benefit of EO data for agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, water, land planning, urbanisation, and the energy challenges of our planet.

Other major transformations relate to how geospatial data are generated and how users without any professional skills are using geospatial technology in their daily life. Crowdsourcing, Geographic Citizen Science, and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) are becoming an important source of geographic information, entering areas that until recently have been the exclusive realm of respected agencies.

The G-STIC 2018 Geospatial Data thematic cluster will focus on demonstrating how unlocking EO data and the associated market‐ready technology solutions create sustainable economic and societal benefits.


Programme outline

In the Plenary Session on Wednesday November 28, Geospatial Data will be introduced as a new theme to the G-STIC conference series.  

On Thursday November 29, individual thematic sessions will zoom in on Earth-Observation-based technology solutions, and how the integrated solutions find their way into the market. Bottlenecks will be identified and recommendation for upscaling will be formulated. The Geospatial Data sessions are built around three topics

  • availability and accessibility of Earth Observation data (11:00 - 12:30)
  • open data and business models (13:30 - 15:15)
  • citizen initiatives (16:00 - 17:45)

Potential impact on SDGs


Data, and more especially Earth Observation (EO) and Geospatial Data are called upon by Agenda 2030 to measure and monitor the progress of the 17 SDGs with their 169 associated Targets and 232 Indicators. A key lesson learned from the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (set by the Millennium Declaration in 2000) was that future sustainable development strategies must be evidence-based and data-driven. That is needed to effectively track, monitor and report progress in a consistent and comparable way over a long-term time scale.


Keynote speakers include

Speakers include

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