FAO - Open Foris: Free open-source solutions for environmental monitoring

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Platform or Tool
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Open Foris is a set of free and open-source software tools that facilitates flexible and efficient data collection, analysis and reporting. It includes the functions to:

  • Open Foris Collect - the main entry point for data collected in field-based inventories. It provides a fast, easy, flexible way to set up a survey with a user-friendly interface. Collect handles multiple data types and complex validation rules, all in a multilanguage environment.
  • Collect Mobile - a fast, intuitive and flexible data collection tool for field-based surveys. This Android app allows the completion of complex data structures, such as biophysical, socio-economic or biodiversity surveys. Its many features include:
    • On-the-fly validation to improve data quality
    • Handling of large lists of species or other attributes
    • Geo-location through embedded GPS
    • Integration with Collect for data management, analysis and export to commonly used formats
    • Processes inputs and calculates attributes for quality control in the field
  • Collect Earth - a tool that enables data collection through Google Earth. In conjunction with Google Earth, Bing Maps and Google Earth Engine, users can analyze high and very high resolution satellite imagery for a wide variety of purposes, including :
    • Support multi-phase National Forest Inventories
    • Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) assessments
    • Monitoring agricultural land and urban areas
    • Validation of existing maps
    • Collection of spatially explicit socio-economic data
    • Quantifying deforestation, reforestation and desertification
  • Calc - a tool for data analysis and results calculation. The input data and metadata come from Open Foris Collect and Calc provides a flexible way to produce aggregated results which can be analyzed and visualized through the open source software Saiku. Calc allows expert users to write custom R modules to perform calculations working with a variety of sampling designs. 
  • SEPAL - a system for earth observation, data access, processing, analysis for land monitoring that llows users to query and process satellite data quickly and efficiently, tailor their products for local needs, and produce sophisticated and relevant geospatial analyses quickly. Harnessing cloud-based supercomputers and modern geospatial data infrastructures (e.g. Google Earth Engine), SEPAL enables access and processing of historical satellite data as well as newer data from Landsat and higher-resolution data from Europe's Copernicus programme. The tool is used by governments, research institutions and NGO's to monitoring purposes, including forest inventories, climate change reporting, socio-economic surveys, biodiversity assessment, land use, land use change and forestry measurement, deforestation monitoring with remote sensing, and detecting desertification and trees outside of forest.

The initiative is a collaborative effort of numerous public and private institutions and it is hosted by the Forestry Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.






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