Apply now to the joint Microsoft's AI for Earth and the GEO BON US$I million grant Programme

The Group on Earth Observation continues his strategy to team-up with big digital companies to offer the EO community access to data and cloud computing facilities.

In 2017, GEO and Amazon Web Services announced their collaboration to support the support the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) open data platform. 

In 2018, the GEO-Amazon Earth Observation Cloud Credits Programme offered developing countries access to free cloud services to help with the hosting, processing, and analysis of big Earth observation data for sustainable development. – See

On February 2020, GEO and Google Earth Engine announce a call to action for projects to monitor the pulse of the planet. The idea is to tackle significant societal challenges and improve understanding of our planet, objectives also shared by the G&A Programme, with regards to Water and Land Resources, Marine and Coastal Resources, in support to the multifaceted decision making processes-See

The Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) and Microsoft’s AI for Earth program and Secretariat are now launching a new US$1 million grant program.

Grants of US$500k in financial funding and US$500k in Microsoft Azure credits, will support projects that strengthen efforts to monitor Earth’s biodiversity and create Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) and relevant biodiversity change indicators derived from the EBVs. They are seeking for Projects that develop novel approaches to monitoring of biodiversity as well as projects that leverage cloud-scale computation to increase the geographical and temporal coverage of existing monitoring programs.

Grant recipients will also be invited to attend the GEO BON Open Science Conference 2020 and will be invited to participate in Microsoft events and presentations as appropriate.

  • Applicants must be either individual members or partner organizations of GEO BON. Are particularly encouraged applications from locally based organizations in geographic areas where biodiversity observations are currently underrepresented.
  • Projects must be developed and deployed on the Azure cloud for the duration of the grant support.
  • All data, software and products as a result of this Call shall be made available to the GEO community…
  • May 5, 2020: Grant application opens
  • 11:59PM Pacific Standard Time, June 5, 2020: Grant application deadline
  • June 30, 2020: Grant recipients notified

Details on Application instructions, Selection Criteria and Project Delivery - Link to

The Microsoft Planetary Computer

Microsoft has announced they are building a Planetary Computer that would provide access to trillions of data points collected by people and by machines in space, in the sky, in and on the ground and in the water, that would allow users to search by geographic location instead of keyword, that would allow users to provide new kinds of answers to new kinds of questions by providing access to state-of-the-art machine learning tools and the ability to publish new results and predictions as services available to the global community. More

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a complete cloud platform with an ever-expanding set of services and storage. It allows users to build, manage, an deploy applications on a massive global network while using familiar tools and frameworks. Azure functionality that may be particularly useful for biodiversity researchers include:
  • Key geospatial and conservation datasets. Microsoft is making additional geospatial datasets available on Azure and accessible through Esri tools later this year
  • Geo AI Data Science Virtual Machine (DSVM), which integrates Esri ArcGIS Pro into the Microsoft DVSM on Azure
  • Support of multiple programming languages, including R
  • Open source APIs on land cover mapping, species classification, and camera trap image processing
The Group on Earth Observations

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is an intergovernmental working to improve the availability, access and use of open Earth observations to impact policy and decision making. GEO connects government institutions, academic and research institutions, non-governmental and civil society organisations and the commercial sector working together on Earth observations. This unprecedented global collaboration of experts helps identify gaps and reduce duplication in the areas of sustainable development and sound environmental management based on open and shared Earth observations data and knowledge.

(Special thanks to GEO)