IORA 2021

Earth observation for conservation

- 24 November 2021

Earth Observation for an Indian Ocean Blue Economy Workshop


Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation threaten ecosystems worldwide. Satellite remote sensing has been crucial in documenting these threats, and is a powerful tool for identifying areas undergoing losses. However, existing methods for mapping change typically rely on expert implementation, which is a severe constraint in achieving comprehensive information on the status of the world’s ecosystems. Through practical exercises, this short course will train attendees to the use of remote sensing for mapping habitats and quantifying how they change over time.

We will learn to use REMAP (, a free, open-source, online remote sensing application funded by Google and developed to provide easy access to the immense capabilities of Google Earth Engine. Remap has been used by more 10,000 people around the world to quickly develop highly accurate maps from Landsat data, identify areas undergoing land cover changes and quantify the amount of habitat loss over a two-decade period.

In the course, we will make map classifications from freely available Landsat data, allowing us to identify the distributions of ecosystems, land cover, and quantify habitat loss and deforestation over a 20 year period. Attendees will access remap via laptop computer, train a remote sensing classification interactively in the web browser, run a map classification using Google Earth Engine, analyse areas of each map class, and download their map data in a format (geotiff) suitable for analysis or sharing.

Course materials

Introduction to Earth Observation and Remote Sening (PDF)

Introduction to Remap (PDF)

Remap tutorials

Remap paper (Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2018)

Tidal flats paper (Nature, 2019)