Digitizing a sustainable future

Reisch, L.A., Joppa, L., Howson, P., Gil, A., Alevizou, P., Michaelidou, N., Appiah-Campbell, R., Santarius, T., Köhler, S., Pizzol, M., Schweizer, P., Srinivasan, D., Kaack, L.H., Donti, P.L. & Rolnick, D. (2021) Digitizing a sustainable future. One Earth, 4(6), 768-771. DOI:10.1016/j.oneear.2021.05.012.

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  • Jun, 2021


Open geospatial data for the greater good
The space conquest that began in the second half of the 20th century had a huge direct effect on the development of Earth observation, which ensured the ability to deepen our knowledge of the planet drastically and to be able to monitor it in near real time. This ability to observe Earth from space, coupled with computational technological evolution, has also led in recent years to the creation of an unprecedented volume of geospatial data with the ability to support better decisionmaking regarding key socio-environmental challenges (e.g., climate change, food security, and water resource management). Open and permanent access to robust, accurate, and reliable geospatial data and products (at the local, national, and regional levels) by all sectors of society is thus essential for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this sense, the strategy defined by the European Commission and its partners through the creation and implementation of the Copernicus Program must constitute a global example of governance in this area regarding geospatial-based digitalization and sustainability achievement. By producing and providing highly valuable Earth observation-based data and services on an open access and permanent basis and by fostering the creation and promotion of new highly disruptive and sustainable scientific, environmental, and socio-economic approaches, the Copernicus Program strongly contributes to a more cost-effective and flexible digitalization with more significant benefits for global sustainability.