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Public, private sectors extend support to Obama’s climate data initiative

US: In an open media discussion on climate change preparedness, organised by the White House on 19 March, several public and private sector companies have extended their support to the cause. The discussion concluded with the launch of the Climate Data Initiative, an ambitious effort bringing together extensive open government data and design competitions with commitments from the private and philanthropic sectors to develop data-driven planning and resilience tools for local communities.As the discussions concluded, several private and public sector organisations announced new initiatives.

Data.gov - Climate focused geo-collaboration portal

Esri announced that it will be partnering with 12 cities across the country to create free and open maps and apps to help state and local governments plan for climate change impacts. Esri also launched a climate-focused geo-collaboration portal.

Intel will join with its three regional partners to convene teams of engineering and computer science students, and local citizens, and challenge them to develop new software applications and tools to make good use of available data sets related to climate-change resilience.

Google announced that it will donate one petabyte (1,000 terabytes) of cloud storage for climate data, as well as 50 million hours of high-performance computing with the Google Earth Engine platform. The technology giant also announced partnerships with the Desert Research Institute, the University of Idaho, and the University of Nebraska to provide drought mapping and monitoring for the entire continental United States in near real-time.

Microsoft Research announced a new, free climate data resource, Adaptable FetchClimate, for retrieving past and present observations and for future climate-prediction information. FetchClimate will continue to be available as a free intelligent environmental information-retrieval service and will now be adaptable as a cloud-based system that can be re-implemented and adapted to the specific needs of new projects.

Climate Central will release a free web tool providing local projections, maps, and assessments of exposure to sea level rise and coastal flooding tabulated for every coastal zip code, municipality, county, and state in the US, along with planning, legislative and other geographic districts. As part of the World Bank’s Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI), the Field Guide builds on work active across more than 20 countries to map millions of buildings and urban infrastructure; open more than 1,000 geospatial datasets to the public; and spur the development of innovative applications based on those data.

Code for America’s Philadelphia Brigade, pitched in by announcing the development of a new mobile sensor network they aim to run on city buses to gather temperature and pollution data across the city, allowing researchers to track the effects of climate change on and its pollutants in areas across an entire city. This data will be combined with OpenTreeMaps, a platform for crowdsourced tree inventory and urban forestry analysis, to determine the value of trees in combating climate change. The data will also be openly available so developers can incorporate and convey information on local pollution and heat levels in real time to citizens.

Data from NOAA, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Defense, and other Federal agencies will also be featured on climate.data.gov, a new section within data.gov. The first batch of climate data being made available will focus on coastal flooding and sea level rise. NOAA and NASA will have also announced an innovation challenge on International Space App Challenge’s website calling on researchers and developers to create data-driven simulations to help plan for the future and to educate the public about the vulnerability of their own communities to sea level rise and flood events.

Source: White House