Google together with the University of Maryland, USA and the UN Environment Programme, has developed a tool “Global Forest Watch 2.0” to prevent deforestation and monitor forests in real-time. The tool is slated for launch later this year.
“Global Forest Watch 2.0 is a powerful near real-time forest monitoring system that unites satellite technology, data sharing, and human networks around the world to fight deforestation.”
Most forest monitoring tech that exists today is not fast enough to nap criminals who indulge in illegal logging and other deforestation activities. In a sense these Systems use Remote sensing as a tool to estimate accurately the extent of deforestation in remote and inaccessible areas after the damage has been done. More of an estimation tool than a prevention tool, one could say.
Global Forest Watch 2.0 promises to do better than that, taking advantage of remote sensing technology and showing high-resolution, near real-time deforestation maps on a user-friendly platform. Not only that, it will also provide global deforestation alerts to forest officials, helping them identify illegal logging and deforestation hot spots.
Google Earth provides cloud computing-based forest information to the officials. Maps from remote forests in the world are processed in the industrial world courtesy high-speed internet which then is sent back to the forest officials on the ground to evaluate the condition and prevent deforestation activities besides collection photographs and GPS data for verification. Crowd sourcing of data adds volume to the records and helps hold decision makers accountable.
Global Forest Watch 2.0 may not be the “all in one” solution to prevent deforestation but surely it has he potential to democratise the management and protection of forests.
Here’s the link to a video about GFW 2.0: