Can Geospatial technology and satellites be used to measure sustainable development?

Can GIS be used to measure sustainable development and help achieve goals? Find out here:

Can Geospatial technology and satellites be used to measure sustainable development?
Can Geospatial technology and satellites be used to measure sustainable development?

Can Geospatial technology and satellites be used to measure sustainable development?

When we think about Sustainable Development, we think about a future where resources are abundant, easily available, and at an affordable price. But how do we know that the development that is taking place in the present is sustainable for future generations as well? How is this sustainable development measured and monitored?

By making use of technology that is growing leaps and bounds by the day, there is an effective way that has been sought to monitor this development and keep a close eye on the variables that reflect this development.

Sustainable development impacts all of us. The entire planet’s fate lies in the way we develop it without exhausting the available resources and without putting too much pressure on the environment we are in. Thus, monitoring of such development is crucial to the overall health of the planet and us as a species.

Now, this measurement at a scale as large as the Earth’s entire span is physically impossible to do with a measuring tape and some chalk, and this is where satellites or geospatial technology come into the picture. The European Space Association have worked to measure and sustain these goals with the help of satellite technology and GIS. This has been used to monitor land use, measure improvements in resource management at a large scale, understand patterns, and even provide aid and data to countries that need assistance in terms of technology and capital.

The ESA remarkably used GIS technology to provide African countries with data and information about Zika virus breakouts, Ebola, and malaria with satellite data and an inflatable antenna simply by putting geospatial technology to use.

The quality of education in rural areas (which was an SDG set by the UN) has improved drastically with the help of satellite-enabled schooling systems and education solutions that use technology to provide students with resources beyond generic and basic textbooks.

Sanitation, quality of life, health and wellness, poverty and hunger, all have been measured using geospatial data for a long time. This data helps in much more accurate predictions and studies to understand the current pattern of development and also take corrective action when development deviates from its expected path.

Most sustainable goals have an abstract “goal” and do not have any tangible units of measurement. How can we measure the quality of life of the population? How can climate control and measures towards it be measured? Of course, these are goals that are hard to track, but GIS technology has helped with this issue.

Household surveys help with traditional measurement and certain parameters set up also help in measuring this data, but at the end of the day, a powerful medium is required to assess this data at a larger scale and analyse its implications, and this is where GIS comes into the picture. Socio-ecological balances, identifying areas of poverty and monitoring them with geospatial technology resulted in a 62% accuracy in the data.

With more than 150 sustainable development goals today, it is not cost-effective to measure each and every one by hand. These costs could be enormous and maybe even dive into more than 10% of the total fund for these initiatives. It was always a priority to find cost-effective measurement tools to enable and enhance the monitoring, measurement, and analysis of this sustainable development data- and GIS technology has proven itself to be nothing but the best fit.