Objectives of the service:
UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education, and sustainable development. They can, however, suffer great damage in case of unanticipated natural disasters.
GRID aims to help them reduce risks of natural disasters by exploiting satellite remote sensing data to provide indication of upcoming natural disasters. This will allow Geopark administrators to better plan to protect residents, visitors/tourists, the local economy, and their touristic product, also promoting Geoparks as a safer destination.
GRID provides an easy to use dashboard with the essential environmental and land variables of the Geopark. It offers detailed information regarding drought periods, tailored for the Geopark areas, helping administrators better understand the status of their protected areas. It utilizes input from various satellite data sources (e.g., from Copernicus Pan-European Land Service, European Drought Observatory, etc) and combines it with user preferences regarding their Region of Interest (RoI).
Users and their needs:
The end users of GRID are the management bodies and sponsoring agencies of the UNESCO-recognised Geoparks. The essential need of the management of these parks is to protect the Geopark against natural disaster. They therefore need accurate information about the conditions of the park. So far, prevention and emergency preparedness were based on in-person observation or in-situ measurements in the park’s area, which can be very costly.
Another important need is an easy to use, modern product, as this will facilitate its adoption by a wide audience, as opposed to a specialised product requiring training.
Another potential target group are the aspiring UNESCO Global Geoparks. These are areas that would like to be designated as Geoparks and need to assess threats regarding the preservation of their sites as part of the application process. Our service will prove to be an asset in their application dossier, as a type of risk management.
Tourists and residents could also become end users if the managing body wishes to openly provide the output of GRID to the public (e.g., as an informational tool presenting details about the Geopark’s environment).
We are currently targeting the Geoparks in Greece, Cyprus, and Germany.
GRID aims to help Geoparks reduce risks by exploiting several satellite remote sensing data sources to provide indication of upcoming natural disasters. It consists of a web application constantly monitoring the environmental, biophysical, and land variables of the Geopark. GRID emphasises ease of use, presenting detailed drought-related information and analysis on drought periods in the form of a dashboard tailored for the Geopark areas.
Unlike mapping products displaying only static information, GRID offers regularly updated EO information relevant to the customers’ needs. This is updated immediately as it becomes available from the satellite data providers, ensuring relevance to users.
The user-customisable dashboard also presents the outcome of data analysis on timeseries data, offering sophisticated analytics on the past and current land service metrics. Trends in these timeseries data can trigger notifications to users, warning them of the possibility of a natural disaster e.g. prolonged drought, or the expiration of such a warning.
GRID uses Satellite Earth Observation data from the Copernicus system and other openly available data sources. These offer a large coverage area in comparison to in-situ measurements, frequent updates, reliable data, and overall convenience for drought monitoring.
Especially for the use case of short-staffed Geoparks, it can be difficult to regularly cover their large areas to take measurements (e.g., in Greece, the Sitia Global Geopark has an area of 361km2, Chelmos-Vouraikos Geopark has an area of 647 km2, the Lesvos island Geopark is 150km2 with an additional 200 designated as buffer zone, etc). Detailed data for such large coverage areas would otherwise be very costly to collect in situ, while GRID will provide regular updates without additional costs.
GRID makes use of data products from the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service to monitor different biophysical parameters and provide detailed geospatial information for the Geopark areas. Regularly updated indices provided by the Copernicus satellites include the Combined Drought Indicator (CDI) giving an overall assessment of areas suffering from drought or at risk of doing so, Burnt Areas mapping burn scars, the fraction of ground covered by vegetation (FCOVER) to indicate changes in vegetation, thickness of the vegetation cover (LAI), etc. These are complemented by datasets providing context such as Land Use.