New Satellite Technology Tool Transforms Ability to Manage Food Security in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal and Sierra Leone

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The Africa Regional Data Cube has been formally launched at a high-level event in Nairobi, Kenya. This new tool harnesses the latest Earth observation and satellite technology to help Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Tanzania address food security as well as issues relating to agriculture, deforestation, and water access.

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The Africa Regional Data Cube layers satellite imagery in an analysis-ready format that allows users to more easily see and understand changes– such as urbanization, deforestation, and crop formation –over time.

NAIROBI, KENYA. MAY 10, 2018

The Africa Regional Data Cube has been formally launched today at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. This new tool harnesses the latest Earth observation and satellite technology to help Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Tanzania address food security as well as issues relating to agriculture, deforestation, and water access. The launch was followed by in-depth training for government representatives of participating countries, so that they can immediately make use of this cutting-edge technology.

The data cube was developed by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) in partnership with the Group on Earth Observations, Amazon Web Services, Office of the Deputy President – Kenya, Strathmore University in Kenya, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.

A SIMPLE YET COMPLEX PROBLEM: WHAT CROPS ARE BEING GROWN WHERE?

The Deputy President of Kenya, H.E. William Ruto said his government will use the data cube to underpin the success of food security, a pillar of its ‘Big Four’ priorities alongside manufacturing, universal healthcare, and affordable housing. The data cube will allow the government to understand crop distribution, changing seasons, and use of agricultural land in rural areas; as well as better protect its forests and water towers. The Deputy President said:

“This technology will help us understand month by month how our land is being used so that we can target interventions aimed at improving our actions against climate change, help smallholder farmers, and secure sustainable food and water for our citizens.”

Ghana’s Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, said "Over half of our labor force is made up of agricultural labor. This innovation has the potential to boost our economy, help enhance agricultural production and our efforts to tackle malnutrition in Ghana."

FASTER, CHEAPER, SIMPLER TO GET INSIGHTS FROM SATELLITE DATA

Vast quantities of freely available and timely satellite data offer a real opportunity to grow smarter, waste less, and to innovate for efficient, effective production. But the burden of satellite data management and analysis has been a barrier to success, with developing countries generally lacking capacity to use this data to assess local resources, land and water, and monitor agriculture production and land change.

The Africa Regional Data Cube layers satellite imagery in an analysis-ready format that allows users to more easily see and understand changes– such as urbanization, deforestation, and crop formation –over time.

The Africa Regional Data Cube will provide important solutions to government ministries, national statistical agencies, geographic institutes, research scientists, civil society, and beyond. It will allow users in the region to apply satellite-based Earth observation data to address local and national needs and development strategies, meet international initiatives such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and support the upcoming 2020 round of censuses in African countries — the most significant data collection exercise for a decade.

Claire Melamed, CEO of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data said: “These five countries are in the vanguard of data for sustainable development. With their example, we hope that we can broaden access to the data cube across the continent so more countries can benefit from this fantastic solution. The sky really is the limit when it comes to how data from satellites can help drive sustainable development.”

While satellite data is not new, it has traditionally been difficult to access and use, limiting its potential to help governments meet key development challenges. This new tool will help governments, farmers, and consumers manage the complex challenges they face in trying to navigate the economic, social, and environmental systems on which they depend. Vast quantities of freely available satellite data offer real opportunity to improve agricultural production, food security, and access to water.

Government ministries, national statistical agencies, geographic institutes, research scientists, and civil society all stand to benefit from this new technology and training and capacity building will soon commence across countries to help national representatives utilize, contribute to, and ultimately benefit from the data cube.

**ENDS**

NOTES TO EDITORS

CONTACT

Hilda Wangari
Media Coordinator
hw.wangari@gmail.com
+254 721 766 422

Jennifer Oldfield
Communications Director
Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
joldfield@data4sdgs.org
@MsJenOO
+1 202 6214530

Spokespeople

  •     Aditya Agrawal, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
  •     Brian Killough, CEOS/NASA
  •     Philip Thigo, Government of Kenya
  •     Rosemary Okello, Strathmore University

About the Africa Regional Data Cube

The Africa Regional Data Cube (ARDC) is based on the Open Data Cube (ODC) infrastructure (http://opendatacube.org), which has been successfully demonstrated in Australia, Switzerland, and Colombia and is under development or evaluation by more than 30 other countries. The ODC allows analysis-ready satellite data (e.g. Landsat, Sentinel) to be spatially and temporally aligned in "cubes" of pixels. These data cubes, hosted in the cloud, allow efficient time series analyses (e.g. land change, water extent and quality, agriculture extent, and health), permit the use of diverse data sets via interoperable methods, and support connections to common analysis tools while reducing the data preparation and management burden on users. In addition, the ODC community allows engagement of other global users to develop new core code, share algorithms, and provide support for the resolution of problems.

A training session from 9-11 May 2018 is focused on getting representatives of the five participating countries (Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania) up to speed on using satellite and earth observation data to address their in-country sustainable development needs.

Useful links:

Earth Observations for Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDGs): http://eo4sdg.org
GEOGLAM: http://www.geoglam.org/index.php/en/
GEOGLAM RAPP: http://geoglam.org/index.php/en/global-regional-systems-en/rangelands-rapp

Hashtag: #AfDataCube

About the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data:
The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) is a growing network of more than 300 organizations that act as data champions working around the world, harnessing the data revolution for sustainable development. Among these champions are governments, charities, businesses, and UN agencies. Since it was created in 2015, GPSDD has elevated data issues at a political level, launched a multi-million-dollar Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development funding initiative, and supported the advancement of country-led Data Roadmaps for Sustainable Development in: Colombia, Kenya, the Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and elsewhere. Learn more at: http://www.data4sdgs.org.

About the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS):
The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) is made up of 60 agencies from all around the world committed to coordinating their satellite Earth observation programs and sharing data for a more sustainable and prosperous future. These satellite observations are critical for environmental monitoring, meteorology, disaster response, agriculture and many other applications that can improve life on Earth and save lives. CEOS organizations currently operate 137 Earth observation satellites.

About Strathmore University:

Strathmore University is a leading non-profit private university in Kenya. It specializes in Information & Technology, Finance & Applied Economics, Graduate Studies, Accountancy, Humanities & Social Sciences, Management & Commerce, Law School, Tourism & Hospitality, Data Science, Technology & Innovation- @iLabAfrica, Business School & Mathematical Sciences. The university also provides world-class executive management education in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda and partnering with major universities in Africa: https://www.strathmore.edu/

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