Earth Observation Systems (EOS)

Devising new approaches to collect, harmonize, verify and share spatial information with an emphasis on citizen science

Much of the spatial data used to data to support research efforts is conflicting, difficult to combine, or has received only limited validation. The EOS research on Earth observations, in collaboration with GEO and national space agencies, will therefore devise new approaches and technologies to collect, harmonize, and verify spatial information, eventually feeding into the ESM integrated model cluster. To this end, new efforts will be explored in the areas of VGI (volunteered geographic information), opening up the vast potential of citizen science (e.g. through development of the Geo-Wiki). Furthermore, the EOS research group has spent considerable efforts quantifying the benefits of earth observation and GEOSS.

Geo-Wiki is a platform which provides citizens with the means to engage in environmental monitoring of the earth by providing feedback on existing information overlaid on satellite imagery or by contributing entirely new data. Data can be input via the traditional desktop platform or mobile devices, with campaigns and games used to incentivize input. Resulting data are available without restriction. 

We have run several successful crowdsourcing campaigns via Geo-Wiki that have resulted in downgrading of estimates of land availability for biofuel production, and the development and validation of several different land cover products (hybrid global land cover map; hybrid global cropland map, hybrid global forest cover map; global field size map; global map of human impact; cropland map of Ethiopia). We have shown that these hybrid products are more accurate than the individual land cover maps used to create the hybrid products. 

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Last edited: 28 March 2017


Steffen Fritz

Senior Research Scholar
EOS Group Leader

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 353

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313