Using Cloud Technologies for Advanced Environmental Risk Monitoring
Geneva, Switzerland 7 November 2019
MapX – Pulling it all together
Globally, vast amounts of data are being generated to inform decisions about the management of natural resources and the environment. Efficient and rapid analysis and dissemination of this data is critical in the face of today’s environmental challenges. The data, however, cannot be effectively exploited due to a lack of a single platform giving access across all environmental topics and to all countries. This problem led to UN Environment and UNEP/GRID-Geneva establishing a joint initiative in 2014 known as MapX. MapX capitalises on the use of new digital technologies and cloud computing for the sustainable management of natural resources. “MapX is the first attempt to aggregate the range of geospatial information on the environment into a single cloud platform that is backed with the UN neutrality,” said Pierre Lacroix, head of unit at UNEP/GRID-Geneva. “It provides reliable information to match data producers with decision makers, while also offering smart tools and dashboards for analysis, dissemination and storytelling.”
MapX is supporting the future data and Knowledge platform for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Scaling up to reach a large user base
The MapX application needs to mature rapidly, while ensuring it is able to scale with the expected increase in demand from users. Due to the technical challenges, especially on the server-side of the application and its integration into cloud environments, SixSq is providing consultancy services with the objective of reducing costs, improving service resilience and increasing the rate of innovation.
SixSq CEO, Marc-Elian Bégin said “It’s an honour to be able to help the MapX team to reach their challenging scaling goal, while remaining independent from infrastructure providers. Leveraging our DevOps and cloud experience, we’re able to take a lot of the operational pain from the team, so that they can focus on delivering innovation to the climate change monitoring community.”
Working together, MapX now runs a scalable and clustered set of services, including PostgreSQL, Redis and Prometheus/Grafana for monitoring. The new container native application is now set to scale with demand. This demand is expected to grow with the increasing need from the UN community to understand and report on the impact on land from climate change and mitigation measures implemented by countries and regions.
MapX was developed by UNEP, the World Bank and UNEP/GRID-Geneva to capitalize on the use of new digital technologies and cloud computing in the sustainable management of natural resources. One of the founding principles was to equalize information held by different stakeholders as a prerequisite to better dialogue, decision making and monitoring. MapX evolved from an initial focus on extractive resources to include a range of different resource types and themes
The Global Resource Information Database - Geneva (GRID-Geneva), is a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the University of Geneva (UniGe). With a team of 20 Environment Data Scientists, GRID-Geneva’s main role is to transform data into information and knowledge to support the decision making process related to environmental issues. It is nested within the Science Division at UNEP.
SixSq is a leading cloud and edge computing solutions provider. Its technology is open and cloud neutral. It allows public and private organisations to benefit from cloud computing while avoiding lock-in. Its smart cloud-in-a-box appliance, NuvlaBox®, is a secure and scalable plug & play edge solution which provides customers with the ability to deploy and manage at the edge AI and other applications simply and reliably, and at scale. SixSq’s smart multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud and edge management platform, Nuvla®, offers containerised application deployment, management and updates from a single, simple dashboard and API. SixSq’s international team consists of highly skilled software engineers, developers and system administrators. The company has been awarded numerous international cloud framework contracts. It is recognised for its unique edge and cloud expertise and leadership. SixSq is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and embraces the Swiss ideals of excellence, innovation and precision.