A Col­lec­tion of News by Moos


National Geo­graphic Soci­ety and Google join forces to widely sup­port global con­ser­va­tion of nature

pub­lished 05 Octo­ber 2018 | mod­i­fied 05 Octo­ber 2018
Cre­at­ing a planet in bal­ance: the National Geo­graphic Soci­ety and Google join forces to advance human under­stand­ing and action on global con­ser­va­tion of nature

New tech­nolo­gies will empower global lead­ers to make bet­ter deci­sions for a sus­tain­able future

Build­ing upon 12 years of col­lab­o­ra­tion, Google and the National Geo­graphic Soci­ety announced on 1 Octo­ber the launch of a major new part­ner­ship that will address the myr­iad threats impact­ing the Earth at this crit­i­cal junc­ture in ways only the two organ­i­sa­tions can. Over the next two years and beyond, Google and the National Geo­graphic Soci­ety will work together to lever­age the power of Google’s tech­nol­ogy and National Geographic’s world-​class sci­ence and sto­ry­telling, as well as National Geo­graphic Labs’ inno­va­tions, to build a first-​of-​its-​kind, dynamic, four-​dimensional dig­i­tal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the vital signs of Earth’s nat­ural ecosys­tems. This liv­ing ren­di­tion of the globe will allow users to mon­i­tor the world’s species and ecosys­tems over time, under­stand threats to the nat­ural world and realise solu­tions to help achieve a planet in balance.

Okavango deltaEle­phants wade through water that floods the Oka­vango Delta annu­ally after flow­ing down from the Angolan High­lands. Shot on assign­ment for a National Geo­graphic mag­a­zine story about the National Geo­graphic Oka­vango Wilder­ness Project, which aims research the river sys­tem that feeds Africa’s Oka­vango Delta in order to inform deci­sions to pro­tect it. The National Geo­graphic Soci­ety has part­nered with Google on tech­nol­ogy that inspires action to pro­tect places like the Oka­vango water­shed.
Photo credit: Cory Richards

The two organ­i­sa­tions will source and gen­er­ate new data on ecosys­tems, bio­di­ver­sity, urban growth, migra­tions and extreme envi­ron­ments to inform insights and inspire action by edu­cat­ing con­sumers and decision-​makers about the crit­i­cal impor­tance of pro­tect­ing at least 30 per­cent of the planet by 2030. National Geo­graphic Society’s Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent and Chief Sci­en­tist Dr. Jonathan Bail­lie and Vice Pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Acad­emy of Sci­ences Dr. Ya-​Ping Zhang high­lighted the need to achieve this crit­i­cal bio­di­ver­sity tar­get in an edi­to­r­ial pub­lished on 14 Sep­tem­ber in the jour­nal Sci­ence.

There is finite space and energy on the planet, and we must decide how much of it we’re will­ing to share,” Bail­lie and Zhang wrote. Wildlife pop­u­la­tions have decreased over 50 per­cent since the 1970s, while humans’ impact on the land­scape is becom­ing more and more vis­i­ble in satel­lite imagery. For decades, deci­sions about pro­tect­ing crit­i­cal ecosys­tems have been made using very lim­ited data. In 2020, the world’s gov­ern­ments will meet in Bei­jing, China, to set tar­gets that aim to pro­tect cur­rent lev­els of bio­di­ver­sity and the ecosys­tems that sup­port food and water secu­rity as well as the health of bil­lions of peo­ple. The Google-​National Geo­graphic Soci­ety part­ner­ship will cre­ate tools to help this decision-​making.

Two ini­tial com­po­nents of the part­ner­ship are launch­ing at the annual Geo for Good Sum­mit in Sun­ny­vale, Cal­i­for­nia. As part of the National Geo­graphic Society’s efforts to pro­tect our planet’s last wild places, the Soci­ety and Google are releas­ing a new dataset called The Human Impact Map on Google Earth that shows the planet’s remain­ing, rel­a­tively untouched landscapes.

Addi­tion­ally, to show­case one of these iconic land­scapes and its impor­tance at a local and regional scale, the recent announce­ment also includes the launch of a new Voy­ager story in Google Earth, “Pro­tect­ing the Oka­vango River Basin,” focused on south­ern Africa’s Oka­vango River Basin. This Voy­ager story uses the newly visu­al­ized Human Impact data and pro­vides on-​the-​ground data and sto­ry­telling from National Geographic’s Oka­vango Wilder­ness Project expe­di­tions to show how we can bet­ter pro­tect the nat­ural resources and wildlife of regions like the Oka­vango watershed.

Look­ing ahead to 2019 and 2020, Google and National Geo­graphic will col­lab­o­rate on key Google Earth data lay­ers and sto­ries focused on bio­di­ver­sity, ani­mal migra­tions and the impacts of cli­mate change. They plan to develop engag­ing user and decision-​maker expe­ri­ences to bet­ter demon­strate the need to pro­tect the world’s ecosys­tems. Lever­ag­ing the National Geo­graphic Society’s exper­tise in con­ser­va­tion sci­ence with Google’s excel­lence in big data, cloud com­put­ing and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, the organ­i­sa­tions will iden­tify and aim to solve the grand chal­lenges that decision-​makers are try­ing to address and help them make bet­ter informed deci­sions to pro­tect the planet.

(Source: National Geo­graphic Soci­ety press release, 01.10.2018)

UN Biodiversity decade

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
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