Using Cloud Technologies for Advanced Environmental Risk Monitoring

19 November 2019 | Geneva, Switzerland

UNEP/GRID-Geneva and SixSq are collaborating to consolidate the backend of MapX, a UN backed open geospatial platform for managing, analysing and visualising data on natural resources.

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.

Useful links

About MapX

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

About GRID-Geneva

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.


Louise Merifield
Co-founder & Operations Manager
+41 77 44 68 170

About SixSq

SixSq is a leader in edge computing B2B platform as a service. The team is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and embraces the Swiss ideals of excellence, innovation and precision., the company’s B2B SaaS edge-to-cloud management platform and marketplace, allows customers to deploy a secure and comprehensive edge and cloud strategy, while avoiding lock-in. The NuvlaEdge software turns any x86 or ARM hardware platform into a smart edge device connected to to deploy applications in a range of sectors. The result is a secure edge-to-cloud solution that is application-centric, hardware-agnostic, cloud-neutral and container-native.
SixSq is part of the Ekinops Group, a leading network equipment and solutions provider.

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