Digital Earth Pacific will be a regional public good, making analysis-ready satellite data freely available and openly accessible for sustainable development in Pacific island countries.

The Blue Pacific continent is made up of 98% ocean with only 2% land. These large ocean states face unique sustainable development challenges. For example:

  • Majuro, the capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, has an average elevation of 1.7m above sea level. Global mean sea level rise puts the entire nation of the Marshall Islands at risk.

  • Vanuatu is classified as the hazard prone country on the planet. Tropical Cyclone Pam caused estimated damage equivalent to 64% of Vanuatu’s GDP in 2015.

Better data and information are needed to ensure effective decision making to drive policy actions across these areas, especially against the existential threat that climate change poses to the region.

The Pacific Community (SPC) have held dedicated consultations with Pacific countries to identify priorities in the development of the Digital Earth Pacific program. Priority use cases focus on agriculture, climate change, conservation, disaster management and land use/land cover change mapping.

Digital Earth Pacific will be a fundamental digital infrastructure that will ensure every nation in the Pacific has access to tools and technologies to better understand the changes to Pacific environments and people. The system condenses years of freely available satellite data sets to provide real-time understanding on issues such as how disasters have changed coastlines, the impact climate-change and wave energy is having on our countries and to combine weather outlooks for farmers and countries. The technology has been proven in other parts of the world, the data exists in global databases and is accessible for use.

Digital Earth Pacific Image 1

The development of a similar service in Africa at a cost of USD 7 million was assessed by the World Economic Forum as producing a return to African economies of up to USD 2.3 billion. Studies in the Asia Pacific region show that the economic value of Earth and Marine Observation data to a single Pacific country will grow from $36M to $108M by 2030. Digital Earth Pacific will ensure all Pacific economies can similarly benefit economically from the more effective application of Earth Observation data in reaching their sustainable development goals.

Project Impact

Digital Earth Pacific will be a fundamental digital infrastructure that will ensure every nation in the Pacific has access to tools and technologies to routinely monitor and track challenges such as coastal inundation, coral bleaching events and other ocean related products that provide informed and robust data. The system condenses years of freely available data sets to provide real-time understanding on issues such as how disasters have changed coastlines, the impact climate-change and wave energy is having on our countries and to combine weather outlooks for farmers and countries.

Digital Earth Pacific will become an operational public good that will routinely generate products from this data with every satellite overpass. Pacific island countries and territories will be able to access the information the same way weather reports are accessed on mobile phones, any time on any day of the week.

Digital Earth Africa Image 2

The development of a similar service in Africa at a cost of USD 7 million was assessed by the World Economic Forum as producing a return to African economies of up to USD 2.3 billion. Studies in the Asia Pacific region show that the economic value of Earth and Marine Observation data to a single Pacific country will grow from $36M to $108M by 2030. Digital Earth Pacific will ensure all Pacific economies can similarly benefit economically from the more effective application of Earth Observation data in reaching their sustainable development goals.

DE Pacific Youth

Project Timeline

Phase 1 (2021): Pilot [This is not captured in the Project Start Date or the Budget as this is already funded and will be completed in 2021.]

  • Needs assessment completed (Sep 2021)

  • Prototype developed (Nov 2021)

  • Business case developed (Dec 2021)

Phase 2 (2022): Setting the Foundation

  • DE Pacific office established (Feb 2022)

  • Pacific-wide launch event (Mar 2022)

  • Platform development commences (Mar 2022)

  • First region wide products produced (Aug 2022)

Phase 3 (2023-24): Building Capacity and Uptake

  • DE Pacific office fully staffed (Jun 2023)

  • First DE Pacific Annual Users Meeting (Nov 2023)

  • Study of economic value of EO data for the Pacific (Jun 2024)

  • Phase 4 (2025-30): A Developing Ecosystem

  • New global innovations in EO for ocean applications

  • Sustainability plan for ongoing operations and country investment

  • Deliver on the sustainable development goals for the Pacific

The team

Partners and developers

Key contacts

    Placeholder for loading
    Dr Andrew Jones Headshot
    Dr. Andrew Jones Director – Geoscience, Energy & Maritime Division, Pacific Community (SPC)

    andrewj@spc.int

Documentation