The U.S. space agency NASA and its European and Japanese counterparts (ESA, JAXA) announced Thursday the launching of the COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard, a web-based collection of satellite data from all three agencies documenting how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the planet.
Representatives from all three agencies announced the launch at a Thursday teleconference with managers and administrators participating from Italy, Japan and Washington.
The idea, they say, is to provide a view from space of how changing patterns of human activity caused by the pandemic were having a visible impact on the planet.
The agencies say they pooled their data to give the public and policymakers a unique tool to examine the short-term and long-term impacts of pandemic-related restrictions implemented around the world. The agencies will continuously add data to the dashboard as new observations come in from satellites and other observation instruments.
According to a NASA release, the project began taking shape in April, when the three agencies formed a task force to identify the most relevant satellite data, select areas of interest and develop ways to effectively share that information.
Air quality changes around the world were among the first noticeable impacts of pandemic-related stay-at-home orders and reductions in industrial activity that emerged from satellite observations. They have also monitored changes in water quality and economic and agricultural activity around the world.
The agencies say the dashboard will be a powerful tool for examining how the pandemic has changed the world, important information to have as it works to recover.