About us

This partnership is founded on the belief that data is the foundation for our understanding of the environment. Data provides a basis for assessing change across time, for analyzing the environmental challenges facing a particular area, and for determining the need for local, national and global action on the environment. However, data on the environment is often not comparable across locations and time, it is not compiled at a frequency that can support regular analysis and it is often difficult to access and use environmental data.

UN Environment and Google are partnering with the European Union Joint Research Center (JRC), the European Space Agency (ESA), the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) to provide free and open data on the environment in a way that is policy-friendly, so that citizens and governments can easily assess what is actually happening to the world's natural resources, starting with data on water extent as a priority environmental issue.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. UN Environment is also the custodian for 26 Sustainable Development Goal indicators related to the environment. The data on this portal directly contributes to the official global monitoring of SDG indicator 6.6.1 on changes to freshwater ecosystem extent.

Google’s mission is to “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google Earth Outreach and Earth Engine are part of a broader team dedicated to leveraging and developing Google’s infrastructure to address global environmental, health and humanitarian issues. Projects are often in partnership with area experts, focus on data driven approaches and visualizations at scale to bring greater transparency and awareness, create new tools to understand system dynamics and better inform decision making.

The European Commission is an institution of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.

This data product directly uses satellite data from NASA Landsat and ESA Sentinel and is based on the underlying Global Surface Water Explorer product developed by the European Union Joint Research Center.