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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

From open data to open analyses - new opportunities for environmental applications?

Klein, Thomas; Nilsson, Mats; Persson, Anders; Hakansson, Bertil;


In this study, we explore the potential of open and accessible data in combination with interactive cloud-processing capabilities for applications in environmental monitoring and policies. During the last few years, the amount of open Earth observation and open national data has increased substantially. In parallel, access to analysis capabilities for such data has improved. The search and extraction of data from larger Earth observations archives and the processing of larger amounts of data have hitherto been an obstacle for many potential users. With the availability of new cloud solutions such as Google Earth Engine, NASA Earth Exchange, or ESA Cloud Toolbox, accessing and processing of large datasets have become easier for a wider range of users. In this communication, we briefly summarize these recent trends and illustrate their potential by four application showcases from terrestrial and aquatic environmental monitoring. We accessed and processed data from US and European Earth observation satellite archives with Google Earth Engine. As a complement, we also used open Swedish national data and open source desktop tools. We hope that our positive user experiences can encourage other environmental data users to further explore the new opportunities for easy access to open data and cloud-based processing capabilities.


open data; Earth observation; open analyses; cloud-based data access and processing; Google Earth Engine; terrestrial; aquatic; environmental monitoring and policies

Published in


2017, volume: 4, number: 2, article number: 32
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Klein, Thomas
Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Persson, Anders
Swedish Forest Agency
Hakansson, Bertil
Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management

UKÄ Subject classification

Computer Systems
Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)