Google.org has contracted with Clark Labs to adapt their Land Change Modeler application to run on the Google Earth Engine interface in order to support the evaluation and monitoring of REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) projects. The collaboration is complimentary to the forest monitoring application that Google collaborated on with the Carnegie Institute of Science that was unveiled at the COP15 climate meeting in Copenhagen.
The online Land Change Modeler aspect of the Google Earth Engine will include the functionality of the IDRISI GIS and Image Processing software as well as its extension to ArcGIS. The application will allow users to analyze and model deforestation and the amount of carbon involved. Ultimately, the hope is that REDD will drive down carbon emissions, help preserve biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services, and provide an economic incentive and economic benefits for indigenous populations to preserve forests.
The Google Earth Engine brings Google’s considerable resources and computing capacity to bear on issues that involve massive earth observation data sets. The idea is also for the Earth Engine to become a platform for algorithms and software for research-based applications related to sustainability.
Many agencies are currently using the Land Change Modeler for analysis of REDD and other issues. Clark Labs is actively working with Conservation International in order to incorporate the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund (BioCF) methodological framework.