The World Parks Congress: Using technology to protect our natural environment

November 12, 2014

Posted by Dave Thau, Developer Advocate for Google Earth Engine and Karin Tuxen-Bettman, Program Manager, Google Earth Outreach

(Cross posted on the Official Google Australia Blog)

This week, thousands of people from more than 160 countries will gather in Sydney for the once-in-a-decade IUCN World Parks Congress to discuss the governance and management of protected areas. The Google Earth Outreach and Google Earth Engine teams will be at the event to showcase exemplars of how technology can help protect our environment.

Here are a few of the workshops and events happening in Sydney this week:

  • Monday, November 10th - Tuesday, November 11th: Over the last couple of days, the Google Earth Outreach and Earth Engine teams delivered a 2-day hands-on workshop to develop the technical capacity of park managers, researchers, and communities. At this workshop, participants were introduced to Google mapping tools to help them with their conservation programs. 
  • November 13 - 19: Google will be at the Oceans Pavilion inside the World Parks Congress to demonstrate how Trekker, Street View and Open Data Kit on Android mobile devices can assist with parks monitoring and management. 
  • Friday, November 14, 9:30-10:30am: Join a Live Sydney Seahorse Hunt in Sydney Harbour, via Google Hangout, with Catlin Seaview Survey and Sydney Institute of Marine Science. Richard Vevers, Director of the Catlin Seaview Survey, will venture underwater to his favorite dive site and talk with experts about the unique marine life (including seahorses!) that explorers can expect to find around Sydney. Tune in here at 10:30am to catch all the action. 
  • Saturday, November 15th, 8:30am: Networking for nature: the future is cool. Hear about how technology-driven ocean initiatives can help us better understand and strengthen our connection with our natural environments. WPCA-Marine’s plenary session will includes presentations by Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue, Catlin Seaview Survey, Google, Oceana, and SkyTruth. The session will also feature leading young marine professionals Mariasole Bianco and Rebecca Koss. 
  • Saturday, November 15th, 12:15pm: We’ll be hosting a panel discussion on using Global Forest Watch to monitor protected areas in near-real-time. Global Forest Watch is a dynamic online alert system to help park rangers monitor and preserve vast stretches of parkland.
  • Saturday, November 15th, 1:30 - 3:00pm: At the Biodiversity Pavilion join Walter Jetz from Yale and Dave Thau from Google for a presentation on Google Earth Engine and The Map of Life. The presentation will showcase how Google Earth Engine is being used in a variety of conservations efforts - including monitoring water resources, the health of the world's forests, and measuring the impact of protected areas on biodiversity preservation. We will also announce a new global resource from The Map of Life for mapping and monitoring biodiverse ecosystems. 

We believe that technology can help address some of our world’s most pressing environmental challenges and we look forward to working with Australian conservationists to integrate technology into their work.

You can find us at the Oceans Pavilion inside the World Parks Congress, where we will be joined by our environmental partners including The Jane Goodall Institute, The World Resources Institute and The Map of Life.

We hope to see you at one of our events this week!