Earth Observation Systems (EOS)

Through its Geo-Wiki tool, Earth Observation Systems (EOS) in 2013 introduced new ways for citizen scientists worldwide to contribute to improving future global land cover maps.

Globe © S. Fritz | IIASA


Geo-Wiki was extended in 2013. New technologies were applied such as Geo-Wiki pictures; this is an app that allows participants to photograph landscapes which are then automatically geo-referenced and tagged with information such as compass direction and the angle of camera tilt.

The photographs help EOS to improve the quality and the validity of global land cover maps and are an important adjunct to the information already being supplied by Geo-Wiki users.

The images can be uploaded by photographers via mobile connection or they can be stored until Wi-Fi access is available. Geo-Wiki pictures is currently available for Android 2.3.3+, iPhone/iPad, and Windows Phone. 

In terms of new Geo-Wiki branches: AusCover was added providing an online and mobile means to test and validate maps of land-cover and biophysical variables in Australia. It is produced by TERN AusCover and its partners.    

Livestock Geo-Wiki has been extended and is being used to provide a central repository for global maps of livestock distributions and production systems from the International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Rome. 

Geography Geo-Wiki has been modified specifically for use in undergraduate class assignments at the University of Waterloo (Canada).  

Geo-Wiki: Good data quality can be achieved from crowdsourcing

A Geo-Wiki study of more than 53,000 samples of human impact and land cover collected from over 60 individuals of varying expertise showed that the non-experts were as good as the experts at identifying human impact on land cover, and with additional training, could perform as well as experts. More

Application of gaming technology for improving global land cover

The Earth Observation System (EOS) group has developed "Cropland Capture," an online game that engages citizen scientists as data gatherers in global land cover research. The Cropland Capture game was listed among the top 10 education games of 2013. More

Updated estimates shows less land for biofuels

Following research by scientists using Geo-Wiki, estimates of the land available for growing biofuel crops were downgraded by up to 50%. More

Terrestrial ecosystems full verified GHG budget

As the methods used to measure and inventory GHG emissions have significant uncertainties and gaps, the Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program has been developing an advanced methodology of a Terrestrial Ecosystems Full Verified GHG Budget. More


TERN AusCover, Australia;
International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya;
Food and Agriculture Organisation, Rome, Italy;

European Commission (EC);
University of Waterloo, Canada.

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Last edited: 22 May 2014


Steffen Fritz

EOS Center Head and Deputy Program Director

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 353

Further information



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