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The Atlas of the Human Planet: open geoinformation for research, policy and action

The Atlas of the Human Planet 2020 provides 37 examples of applications of GHSL data in various policy domains
The Atlas of the Human Planet 2020 provides 37 examples of applications of GHSL data in various policy domains
Jan 21 2021

The 2020 edition of the Atlas of the Human Planet presents use cases of geoinformation in disaster risk management, urbanisation and sustainable development.

The world population reached 7.7 billion at the end of 2019.

Information on the location and the conditions under which people live is vital to design policies to promote the transition to greener economies for the years to come, but also to improve disaster risk management and crisis response now.

The Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) project of the JRC addresses this need, by providing AI-driven decision making in the form of spatially detailed information on population and human settlements.

JRC Director-General Stephen Quest said: "The Global Human Settlement Layer showcases the robust science-based evidence that the JRC has as its mandate to provide to EU policy-making. Over the past ten years, the GHSL team has succeeded in transforming earth observation data into well-recognised statistics on global human built-up and population. This revolutionary project has turned an exploratory research approach into a solid methodology, and I was proud to see that last year the UN Statistical Commission used GHSL data as basis to adopt a first-ever worldwide definition of cities and urban areas."

Based on GHSL data, the 2020 edition of the Atlas of the Human Planet provides 37 examples of applications of GHSL data in various policy domains, from disaster risk management to urbanisation, sustainable development and the green deal.

The examples demonstrate the added value of open and free geoinformation, and provides policy recommendations for these domains.

The Atlas also discusses challenges and limitations of current global datasets and provides an outlook on the upcoming GHSL data release, which will provide higher spatial resolution and an extension of the data to cover the entire period from 1975 to 2020.

In addition, the Atlas presents the plan for a future production of the GHSL data under the umbrella of the Copernicus services.

The 2020 edition of the Atlas is presented on 21 January during a launch event featuring presentations by the authors of the report in the thematic areas of Disaster Risk Management, Urbanisation, Development, Environment and Sustainability.