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NASA to Provide Data to World Conservation Union
Jamais Cascio, 18 Nov 04

sat.jpgIt's almost as if NASA and the European Space Agency are in some kind of competition. Such a space race would not be without precedent. Only this time, it's not a race to get to the moon, it's an information race to make Earth-orbiting satellite data available to broad audiences. Last week, I posted about the ESA making land use data available. Now it's NASA's turn.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration today signed an agreement with the World Conservation Union to provide satellite data to help with a variety of conservations efforts. The IUCN (as it's known) is the world's largest "environmental knowledge network," comprising members from 140 countries, 114 government agencies, and over 800 NGOs, and has been in operation for over fifty years. Since 1999, it's been accorded "Observer" status at the United Nations.

NASA satellite data will be used in several IUCN support systems for conservation, including the Species Information Service, Protected Areas Learning Network (PALNet) and the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA).

IUCN's Species Information Service is a worldwide biodiversity and conservation management tool [...]. NASA will help IUCN develop this globally accessible, biodiversity database.

PALNet and the WDPA also will benefit from NASA data. Many of the world's 100,000 protected areas are poorly mapped, due to inaccessibility and lack of resources. NASA's satellite imagery will enable creation of accurate maps. In addition, the data will help create a "Protected Area Archive," which will be incorporated into PALNet and WDPA projects.

NASA data will also be provided under the IUCN Conservation Commons Initiative on sharing environmental knowledge.

Your move, Paris.

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