Open Data Drives Better Collaboration

Environmental leaders from around the world are in Abu Dhabi this week at the Eye on Earth Summit to discuss how data collaboration can impact sustainable development.

Pierre Yves Cousteau speaking at the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi (photo courtesy of Carmelle Terborgh)

It’s getting harder to track big data around the environment, but new public-private collaborations are putting key data at everyone’s fingertips. That’s precisely why the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) created UNEP Live. Jacqueline McGlade, Chief Scientist at UNEP says the new Data Drive, which took place during the lead-up to the Eye on Earth Summit, is a novel way to encourage many more users to participate:

UNEP Live creates the space where vital connections happen. Available in 90 languages, countries are able to track their progress towards United Nations sustainable development goals, carbon-emission targets, and other environmental milestones.

The portal can also be used to explore a wide range of data sets from around the world including maps, info-graphics, reports on air quality, emissions, health, climate change and econometrics. The UNEP Live tools even include apps for digging further into the data.

The UNEP Live Data Drive, fostered new contributing partners to the platform from the private sector (such as Amazon Web Services), government resources (such as the Water Quality Portal), academia (Notre Dame GAIN) and citizen-science tools (such as Azavea’s OpenTreeMap and the SciStarter Citizen Science API), plus dozens more.

The value of this professionally vetted open-data clearinghouse will grow exponentially as new partners and the public contribute. UNEP is encouraging companies, government agencies, research institutions, and non-governmental organizations to join in and share their open data related to the environment or climate change.