top of page

GEO Contributes to UN Resolution on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters

EuroGEO: The European Group on Earth Observations

Image by Johannes Hofmann


EuroGEO is the European component of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). It is a shared initiative of the European Commission and the European Caucus Member States and Participating Organisations. It focuses on coordination, cooperation and scaling-up user-driven applications being developed in Europe.

At the heart of this GEO regional activity is improving user uptake and to scale-up existing pilot applications based on Earth observation data and by doing so improving forecasting capabilities for decision makers and governments for Europe’s benefit.

EuroGEO builds on assets from the Copernicus Programme

Image by Christian Nielsen
Image by Christian Nielsen


Copernicus is the European programme for the establishment of a European capacity for Earth Observation. Copernicus is delivering a unique space infrastructure that is available for the broad international community. More specifically Copernicus is characterised as a major European Union’s (EU) contribution to GEOSS and the GEO community benefits from the operational data and information products delivered by Copernicus.

EuroGEO pilot applications will take full advantage of the infrastructure, data and information products delivered by Copernicus and the core Copernicus Services, the EU operational programme for Earth observation. The selected pilots are or will be of direct relevance to the GEO Engagement Priorities whilst leveraging global and European EO initiatives to improve/facilitate the implementation of European environmental policy.

Earth Observations in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The Earth Observation Handbook

European Research Infrastructures and EuroGEO

Image by Lennart Heim


Research Infrastructures are facilities that provide resources and services for research communities to conduct research and foster innovation. The EU Commission cooperates closely with EU countries and countries associated to Horizon 2020. It also ensures that these research infrastructures are open and accessible to all researchers in Europe and beyond. EuroGEO is in touch with the major European Research Infrastructure and can utilise their data for the development of Earth Observation products and services e.g. LifeWatch, INTERACT, the International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic, etc.

Image by Annie Spratt
Image by Annie Spratt
Image by Annie Spratt
Image by Annie Spratt
Image by Annie Spratt

Horizon 2020: Opportunities for EuroGEO including collaboration with the Commercial Sector

Impact on SDG 2  ZERO HUNGER


Horizon 2020 is the largest EU Research and Innovation programme, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It aims to promote more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. It has recently launched a EuroGEO project to increase user uptake of Earth observation data in the European region (e-shape). Further Horizon 2020 calls (2019 and 2020) will support EuroGEO notably to develop collaboration with industry for the development of EuroGEO services, to work on services on climate adaptation, to improve the collection of in situ data in the Arctic region and to develop a R&I strategy in Mountain research.

EuroGEO launches a pioneering new project, e-shape

Black and White
Black and White


To strengthen Europe’s contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS),  EuroGEO  has launched e-shape. With a user-centric approach to Earth observation (EO) data sharing, the system aims to improve forecasting capabilities for sound decision making.

E-shape represents a major coordinated effort to showcase operational services in the field of environmental observation research in Europe. Coordinated by ARMINES and funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme it allows Europe to position itself as global force in Earth observation through leveraging Copernicus, making use of existing European capacities and improving user uptake of the data from GEO assets.

Moving away from a data-centric approach to a user-driven era, e-shape is a unique initiative that brings together decades of public investment in Earth observation and cloud capabilities into services for the decision makers, the citizens, the industry and the researchers.

In this line of focusing on users’ needs, the European Commission has launched e-shape. The project currently includes 27 cloud-based pilot applications under seven thematic areas to address societal challenges, foster entrepreneurship and support sustainable development.

Read the full story on the GEO Observations blog here.

EuroGEO monitoring SDG 11 to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Image by Tim Trad


The urban, land use and land cover action groups of EuroGEO have joined forces to develop a harmonised approach for the estimation SDG 11 indicators at the city level for European cities, and eventually for the world.

The database is built upon the Degree of Urbanisation, a definition used to outline the spatial extent of cities and settlements, to create the first global, harmonized, consistent database of Urban Centres.

The database is tied to the GEO Human Planet Initiative and uses the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) data which comprise: multitemporal Global Built-up Grids (GHS-BU), multitemporal Global Population Grids (GHS-POP) and multitemporal Global Settlement Model (GHS-SMOD). The GHSL uses various input data including global, multitemporal archives of fine-scale satellite imagery, census data, and volunteered geographic information. The satellite archives and available census data allow generating information layers for four epochs: 1975, 1990, 2000, and 2015.

In addition to SDG11, there are a number of SDG indicators that require a disaggregation by urban or rural population. Nevertheless, the lack of harmonized definition of cities as opposed to rural areas makes it difficult to monitor the indicators and collect the measurements in a comparable manner across cities. A concrete guidance on definitions, measurements, and unified standards is necessary to make sure that we work with harmonized and mutually agreed concepts.

In order to remedy this, the EU has developed the Degree of Urbanisation, which introduces a new harmonised people-based definition of cities. The definition has been recently extended to the globe with the built-up and population grids of the Global Human Settlement Layer and as such, it represents a contribution of Europe to GEOSS. The definition allows outlining all the cities in the world (around 10 000) in a harmonized way. It also provides a standardized unit of measurement constituting ‘urban and rural areas’. This definition will prevent inconsistencies arising from the use of different definitions, when collecting and analysing information at city and sub-city level.

bottom of page