Google Earth Engine: A GIS tool for tropical forestry at a local scale!

Check this out! Google Labs is working on a new application -different from Google Earth- that will make GIS more accessible on a local scale. Watch the first video “What is Google Earth Engine?” If nothing else it will demonstrate the importance of GIS within environmental initiatives.

What they’re developing is an online cloud computing platform environmental monitoring program with landsat imagery of tropical areas updated daily, giving countries access to the most current data about their forests. They do offer a few maps and data sets to look at, but the program is definitely still in the works! The expectation is that local places will be able to accurately observe and report on the changing state of their land. They hope that over time this program will help reduce tropical deforestation, empower developing nations, and contribute to a better public understanding of the planet resources! There’s a second video on the site listed above that explains the Surui tribe’s Carbon Project in the Amazon!

What is Google Earth Engine?

2 thoughts on “Google Earth Engine: A GIS tool for tropical forestry at a local scale!

  1. This is a really cool tool/application! It is really amazing all of the advances that Google is putting into action. I hope that, as you mention Jenna, the program will help reduce topical deforestation and empower developing nations. A goal for the future will be attempting to really try to promote this program for good use and for the people who really need it.

  2. Hi Jenna! Thanks for bringing this wonderful tool to our attention. I think it’s really great that this new Google Earth Engine attempts to bring indigenous people and governments together around the idea of conservation, but I couldn’t help but be concerned about a potential negative implication of this engine. If the new Google Earth Engine is observing life in a place imagery everday, it can serve as a monitoring tool to ensure that valued land is not being used in a way that may have a customary importance to indigenous tribes. My larger concern is whether this new engine will really empower indigenous peoples, or whether it will serve as a new means for political leaders in their respective nations to monitor indigenous uses of important (and monetarily valuable land). Basically, what happens when indigenous customary land uses are in conflict with government policies and laws regarding forestry–especially on commonly owned lands–now that there is a tool to monitor daily land change and land use?

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