There has been an increasing demand for satellite data from countries in Asia-Oceania region to address GEO’s three main themes: climate change, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable development. AOGEO has just launched the new cross-cutting project “Integrated Priority Study (IPS)”, which focus on the three priority areas; Mekong River Basin, Pacific Islands and Himalaya mountains. Referring the GEO’s three global engagement areas of “United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs)”, “Paris Agreement”, and “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction”, the concept of the project has been developed since 2017, and discussed during the 2018 Kyoto symposium, and further developed and approved in the 2019 Canberra symposium.

The purposes of the IPS project are 1) to promote cross cutting activities/researches among existing tasks in AOGEO, 2) to encourage experts in the region to join the AOGEO effort through the project, and 3) to demonstrate the values of Earth Observation data in the AO region, by using voluntary contributions of datasets from satellites, machine learning, and reanalysis.

The IPS datasets are uploaded on the Open Data Cube on the Geoscience Australia, and can be used by approved by the Coordination Board Co-Chairs (CB-CC). Applicants are encouraged to send their application form to the CB-CC, then CB-CC will review quickly. After the review, Geoscience Australia, who host the datasets, will provide the access code to the applicants. The applicants who are approved to use the datasets will have the duties to report their progresses and outputs at the AOGEO week in the next year. More detailed information for application will be provided soon.

Three identified priority areas and pilot areas for the IPS project

In the two years discussion since 2017, considering the regional characteristics of Asia Oceania region, three priority areas are identified, which are Mekong River Basin, Pacific Islands, and Himalaya Mountains. The Asia-Oceania region are characterized from the highest mountain region in a world (Himalaya region) to the large Oceania regions with many islands (Pacific Islands and Indo-Pacific Maritime Continents) via several river basins (one of major rivers is Mekong river). The three identified regions include the typical societal issues born by natural disasters and environmental changes, which related with the GEO’s three global engagement areas, and outputs from the IPS project will provide good practices to other regions in AO and in a world.

To start the project, pilot areas are also identified for three priority areas, which are Mekong River Delta for Mekong River, Samoa Passage for Pacific Island, and Kanchenjunga Landscape for Himalaya Mountain, to be able to visualize practically the IPS project to promote. By this reason, all datasets listed in the table cover all the pilot areas.


General: The Mekong river is the great river in the Asia Oceania region, which is the 10th largest river in a world with 4,400km length and 975,000 km2 area of watershed. The Mekong river originates from the Tibetan Plateau and runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The climate of the region has large varieties from glaciated Tibetan Plateau to the hot and humid tropical region, and most of the region is generally governed by the Asia Monsoon climate which has maximum rainfall during summer and less rainfall during winter. The total annual rainfall is measured at Lao to be around 3,000mm. Due to the heavy rainfall amount, total discharge rate in annual average is 15,060 tons/second. The natural resources are rich in forest, lake, wetland, brackish water and Mangrove region, and sustain regional and local societies through agriculture, aquaculture, surface fishery, biodiversity, tourisms, and transportations. Since the beginning of its history, the Mekong river has long been concerned with the human life and the ecosystem in these countries. Productions from natural resources are exported outside, and sustain regional and local economies.

Human activities and climate change are primary causes associated with environmental changes in the Mekong river basin. For example, human activities due to agriculture expansion and many man-made dams could have affected the river discharge and the local ecosystem. Recently due to the increase of anthropogenic impacts and human activities such as man-made dams and deforest, disasters in this region such as floods, droughts, biodiversity changes, coastal erosion have been bigger risks of disaster and environment than a past, and these impacts to society and economy have been increasing year by year. The resultant societal impact may be manifested in various fields of water management, agriculture, flood, energy, health, ecosystem, environmental pollution and transportation. It is therefore very important to perform case studies that characterize such environmental changes and eventually help to develop the operational solution for the benefits of our society.

The utilizations of our Earth Observation data will bring big benefits to provide solutions to these risks and to reduce these impacts to society and economy, and will help establishment of managements of these risks are needed.

Pilot area (Mekong River Delta): The Mekong Delta is the rich rice production area, but due to less river discharge and more use of river sand, sea waters have been more intruding into the delta area than before. The damage of salt soil to rice production is huge, so the environmental monitoring at the delta region by the Earth Observation is quite important. Coastal erosion is another issue in the delta. Due to the river sand use, sediment supply to the coast of the delta becomes less. The monitoring of the erosion of the delta by the Earth Observation is crucial.

Pacific Islands

General: AOGEO will continue to build upon its previous user-engagement activities (e.g. Earth Observation for Pacific workshop, October 2018, Australia) with Pacific Oceania Island States to provide capacity building and the promotion of spatial literacy, champion access to EO data, develop regionally appropriate best-practice EO methods and products that are useful to these communities in addressing climate, environment and livelihood issues.

Pilot area : Samoa passage

Himalaya Mountains

General: Mountain regions cover about 24% of the earth surface and provide important ecosystem services to almost half of humanity around the world. It is estimated that the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) ecosystem alone provide goods and services to about 1.5 billion people living in the mountains and it’s downstream. Mountain areas with often difficult terrain and high degree of inaccessibility present a formidable challenge to collect and manage data and information. This Integrated Priority Study will develop a platform for regional collaboration by bringing together all the GEO member organizations and thematic line agencies from the region working on EO and Geospatial technologies. In future the task aims to: 1) Building on these foundations of ICIMOD and its network, ICIMOD can serve as a Himalayan node contributing to the sub-regional implementation of GEOSS with active involvement of the regional member countries and international partnerships; 2) The focal organizations in the GEO member countries in the region will be the main contributors in this initiative. Participation will be sought from the relevant line agencies working in the thematic areas of agriculture, forestry, disasters and climate; and 3) Private sector participation will also be encouraged. ICIMOD will host the initiative within its Regional Program - Mountain Environment Regional Information System (MENRIS). Complimentary contributions will be managed through ongoing initiatives within ICIMOD such as SERVIR for co-hosting workshops/ meetings and development of tools and services.

Pilot area: Kanchenjunga landscape

Datasets for the IPS project

Datasets for IPS (as of October 25th, 2019)



GEO Secretariat to support AOGEO and IPS
Wenbo Chu (wenbo at geosec.org)

Co-Chairs in charge of IPS and IPS pilots.
Yong-Seung Kim (overall)
Kentaro Ando (Mekong)
Andy Steven (Pacific Island)
David Hudson (Data access)