With significant improvements in Earth Observation (EO) technology, the continuously growing volume and quality of data presents unique opportunities for Earth science and scientific communities while simultaneously posing a major challenge in reaching the full potential of exploiting the data.

This is particularly prominent in extending this technology from purely scientific use to a level where it can be used as an operational source of environmental information in a range of non-EO specialist domains. For instance, organizations concerned with food security may require timely information on crop production statistics; urban planners developing new infrastructure requiring frequent monitoring of the local environmental impact; or natural resource management teams needing hydrological network mapping and water quality monitoring over wide-spread regions.

A lack of ICT resources and technical expertise will limit the extent to which these actors can access or produce value added EO information to meet these needs. This is in conjunction with the community challenges of the ever-growing diversity and complexity of development project needs and an increasing need for cooperation to make sense of the wealth of data. This whitepaper explores how cloud-based services and big data visualization offer the solution to support the discovery, access and exploitation of this vital information.

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