June 2019
Welcome to the fourth edition of our newsletter highlighting innovation and frontier technologies around the globe. At MapX, we believe that nobody should be left behind in the digital revolution. Join us monthly to learn about new global initiatives harnessing technology for the sustainable use of natural resources, citizen science opportunities, upcoming webinars or trainings, and open source solutions. If you have stories you want to share, contact us here.

Case Study:
Opportunity Mapping for Disaster Risk Reduction

Where are the greatest ecosystem-based solutions for managing and reducing disaster risk? A new geospatial tool, jointly launched by UN Environment and UN Environment-GRID at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction 2019 and powered by MapX, overlays global data sets on ecosystem distribution and hazard exposure, with the aim of highlighting ecosystem restoration and protection opportunities areas for disaster risk reduction. Opportunity mapping will be a core component of the recently launched project "Up-scaling community resilience through ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction", led by UN Environment and Partners for Resilience, funded by the European Commission and with support from the Government of Norway. Future plans include making all global data sets available for public use, including downloads. Keep up to-date through the PEDRR weekly newsletter as the tool evolves. Click here to see a story map about the role of the tool in disaster risk reduction.

News / Highlights

Map composer (red circle) feature now live in MapX

Try it now: new custom map composer feature in MapX

We are excited to announce the launch of our latest feature: fully customizable PNG maps with the MapX map composer. Now, users of MapX and MapX-powered applications can easily and intuitively create maps, with full customization of essential mapping elements such as the scale bar, north arrow, and legend, and the option to add the metadata and additional custom text. The size, structure, and content of the maps can be edited by the user for direct input into reports or other uses. Try this new feature in the UN Biodiversity Lab, which is powered by MapX. Please send any feedback to us here. The map composer is optimized for use in Google Chrome.


Credit: United Nations Foundation
A newly released tech report by UN calls for digital cooperation

The UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation published a new tech report, “the Age of Digital Interdependence” which addresses possible ways for digital technology to help achieve the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The panel was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in July 2018 to tackle the question of “digital cooperation”.

The report invites different stakeholders to commit to a "Declaration of Digital Interdependence" which emphasises that “humanity is still in the foothills of the digital age”. It further pinpoints some of the risks faced by mankind including dangerous adventurism among states, exploitative behaviour by companies, regulation that stifles innovation and trade, and an unforgivable failure to realise vast potential for advancing human development. At the end, several recommendations are proposed for immediate attention based on three key areas: an inclusive digital economy and society, human and institutional capacity, human rights and human agency. Read the full press release here.  

Map of the winners' locations, credit: Equator Initiative

Work of Shipibo community mappers in Peru
highlighted through Equator Prize 2019

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and partners announced earlier this month the winners of the 10th Equator Prize, recognizing 22 local and indigenous communities from across the world. The winning organizations, which showcase innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, environment, and poverty challenges, will be honored at a celebratory gala on 24 September in New York. For more winners’ information, please visit here or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter by using #EquatorPrize.

One of the winners, Comunidades Nativas de Nuevo Saposoa y Patria Nueva de Mediación Callería from Peru, is an association of two indigenous Shipibo Peruvian communities. By harnessing innovative satellite and mobile phone technology for community-led monitoring, they have secured the rights to 15,000 ha of ancestral lands and completely eliminated illegal deforestation in the buffer zone of the Sierra del Divisor National Park. Read the local press release in Spanish here.

Credit: Airbus website
Airbus initiative: Interactive forest map of deforestation

Tropical deforestation accounts for about 10% of the world’s global warming emissions. And the European Parliament’s resolution of 4 April 2017 noted that 40% of global deforestation is caused by clearing vegetation to make way for palm oil plantations. The activity is particularly common in Indonesia and Malaysia where palm oil is produced for use in the manufacture of chocolates, industrial bakery products, cosmetics and biofuels.

Helping companies with their ‘No Deforestation’ commitment, Starling – which has been developed jointly by Airbus, non-profit organisation The Forest Trust (TFT) and Netherlands-based company SarVision – is designed to provide that much-needed monitoring service. Starling develops products derived from detailed, 1.5m-resolution images captured by Airbus’ SPOT 6 and 7 satellites. Since palm oil plantations can sometimes be concealed by cloud cover, Starling overcomes this obstacle by combining satellite imagery with radar data or other free optical data from Landsat and Sentinel 2. Among the first companies to use the system are agri-food giants Nestlé and Ferrero. Read more about Airbus’s approach here.
Credit: Greenpeace website
Mapped: Russia's devastating wildfires
On average, an estimated 2 million hectares of forest are lost to wildfires in Russia each year. According to a new analysis of 2018’s Siberian wildfires carried out by GIS specialists at Greenpeace’s Global Mapping Hub, the overwhelming majority of those fires started close to places where people travel, work or live, or to sites of deliberate “prescribed burnings” – a controversial practice intended to prevent the spread of forest fires. Evidence of human activity close to the starting point of a wildfire does not conclusively prove it was started by humans, but it does indicate a high probability that it was – particularly in very sparsely-populated regions.
To better understand the causes of these fires, the mapping hub analysed remote sensing data for four huge regions of Siberia – with a combined landmass of 3.9 million square kilometres – that have been the most badly hit by wildfires. Examine the analysis and its findings in more detail in the interactive map here.

Scientific Corner 

Four scientific institutions will monitor Switzerland from space

Climate, vegetation, water quality, urbanization, cropland, natural habitats: the Swiss Data Cube will enable more effective responses to problems of national significance. Credit: UNIGE website
The Swiss Data Cube (SDC) is an innovative technology that gathers all available satellite images from the American Landsat program and the European Sentinel 1 and 2. UNEP/GRID-Geneva, the University of Geneva (UNIGE), the University of Zurich (UZH) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) have entered a new cooperation agreement to foster the use of Earth Observation data for environmental monitoring at national scale. The SDC will provide ready-for-use information as evidence for developing policy advice, land planning and environmental assessments. It will also allow scientific institutions to fully benefit from Earth Observation data for research and innovation. Learn more about this data cube here.

Free Webinar

Women's Participation and Voice in Mining:
Case Studies from Colombia

This webinar will look at how governments can strengthen their policy responses to gender impacts and gaps related to mining, to improve development outcomes from the sector.  The webinar will share practical approaches to addressing gender gaps in mining. It will draw insights from two case studies from Colombia, in artisanal gold mining, and coal mining, of initiatives that are effective in addressing key gender issues linked to the sector, while highlighting good practices in Colombian public policy related to mining, from a gender perspective.

The webinar in English and Spanish will take place at the times listed below:

  • English: Tuesday, 18 June, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm Eastern Time 

  • Spanish:Tuesday, 18 June, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Eastern Time

Register Now


HOT Summit 2019: Sep 19-20

Now in its fifth year, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) Summit will bring together people from around the world working to make open geographic data available to improve the places they live and work through OpenStreetMap. The 5th HOT Summit is coming to the city of Heidelberg, Sep 19-20. A limited number of 1 & 2-day tickets are available, the early bird registration is now open until June 18.

Sessions will be a mix of workshops, presentations, lighting talks and roundtable discussions, with plenty of space and time for meeting fellow HOT community members, hacking, talking and collaboration. If you’re interested in supporting the Summit Working Group and to help them discuss, plan and develop ideas for HOT Summit 2019, there are different ways to support remotely as well as locally. Contact them here or catch them on Slack at #Summit-planning.
State of the Map: Sep 21-23

State of the Map is the annual event for all mappers and OpenStreetMap users. Last year, there were presentations regarding data quality improvement using deep learning, field mapping and data collection, open data, citizen science, etc.. This year it will be held immediately after the HOT Summit. The early bird registration is now open and will end on July 7.

Enjoy three days in Heidelberg with talks, discussions, workshops, code and documentation sprints all around the free and open map of the world. The participants will see how Facebook, mapbox and other tech companies use open source mapping tool for social good. Both summits will be hosted by Heidelberg University, thus members of the OSM and HOT community will have the chance to visit both and spend a week to mingle, exchange ideas, and 'Bridge the Map'.
What is MapX?

Data has become the world’s most valuable and powerful resource. MapX supports the sustainable use of natural resources by increasing access to the best available geospatial data, technology, and monitoring tools. Backed by the impartiality and integrity of the UN, MapX is the first non-commercial platform that can power a variety of applications and websites with the best available environmental data as part of a global public good. MapX was developed by UN Environment and GRID-Geneva in partnership with the World Bank and UNDP.

We look forward to bringing you the best updates of 2019!

UN Environment
Contact Us
Newsletter writer: Yalun Jin
Please send your news alert for us to feature: mapx@un.org

Copyright © 2019 UN Environment Crisis Management Branch, All rights reserved.

You are receiving this email because you opted in when signing up to the Environmental Security and Sustaining Peace MOOC or signed up on the MapX website.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.