15 May 2019

Horizon 2020 project launches innovative earth observation

IIASA will play a key role in a Europe-wide project to transform earth observation data into useful products and services to support action on sustainable development and climate change.

© Rangizzz | Dreamstime.com

© Rangizzz | Dreamstime.com

IIASA researchers are leading efforts to include citizen science data in a new, Europe-wide project that aims to transform the use of remote sensing data in order to help achieve international targets for sustainability and climate change.

IIASA is one of 54 partners on the €15 million EuroGEOSS Showcases: Applications Powered by Europe (e-shape) project, which is being funded under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 initiative.

The e-shape project is an unprecedented initiative that brings together decades of public investment in earth observation and cloud capabilities into services to citizens, industry, decision makers, and researchers. The project will promote the development and uptake of 27 cloud-based pilot applications, addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, The Paris Agreement, and the Sendaï Framework on disaster risk reduction. The pilots will build on existing data pool and computational infrastructure such as the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

The main objectives of the e-shape project are to:

● Coordinate earth observation (EO) actions and leverage existing resources and capacities in the presently fragmented landscape of EO in Europe;
● Deliver concrete EO-derived benefits to users through a rigorous documented co-design process;
● Implement a comprehensive portfolio of user uptake, operationalization, business support, and outreach activities towards the sustainable exploitation of EO services;
● Onboard new high profile EO based pilots developed outside the project and to give them access to the strategic knowledge and communication channels derived from the e-shape activities.

“The project is unique in that it is the first serious attempt to coordinate the manifold global earth observation activities across Europe. We need to move from data provision to information and services. It is exciting in part because there are many players, the need is great and the task is difficult,” says IIASA researcher Ian McCallum, who is co-leading IIASA’s contribution to the project together with Steffen Fritz, Deputy Program Director of the IIASA Ecosystem Services and Management (ESM) Program, and leader of the Earth Observation and Citizen Science research group, which has grown from a small team into one of the leading citizen science research programs in Europe.

“Our role in the project is to provide access to our citizen science infrastructure (i.e., Geo-Wiki, LandSense, FotoQuestGo, and more) and expertise across the pilot projects,” says Fritz. “While the interest and applicability of citizen science is high across the various showcases, many are still uncertain how to utilize citizen science and have concerns about quality. We will contribute to pilot projects on agriculture, health and disasters.”


The e-shape project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 820852

More info/Links:

Launch of the new H2020 project e-shape

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Last edited: 15 May 2019


Ian McCallum

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program


Steffen Fritz

Program Director and Principal Research Scholar Strategic Initiatives Program

Principal Research Scholar Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313