EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

From satellite data and Sustainable Development Goals to interactive tools and better territorial decision making

Maël Plantec and Fabien Castel
Maël Plantec and Fabien Castel
  • Murmuration (

As human activities continue to expand and evolve, their impact on the planet is becoming more evident. These past years Murmuration has been studying one of the most recent and destructive trends that has taken off: mass tourism. In Malta, tourism has been on the rise since before the Covid-19 pandemic. Now that travel restrictions are beginning to lift, it's likely that this trend will go back to increasing in the coming years. While Malta’s economy is mostly based on tourism, it's essential that this activity does not alter the areas in which it takes place. To address these issues and ensure sustainable development, governments and organizations have developed a set of guidelines called Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). SDGs are a set of 17 goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 to provide a framework to help countries pursue sustainable economic, social and environmental development. They include objectives for mitigating climate change, preventing water pollution and degradation of biodiversity, as well as providing economic benefits to local communities.

In order to help territories like the islands of Malta to cope with these environmental issues, Murmuration carries out studies on various ecological, human and economic indicators. Using the Sentinel satellites of the European Copernicus program for earth imagery data makes possible the collection of geolocated, hourly values on air quality indicators such as NO2, CO and other pollutants but also water quality and vegetation through the analysis of the vegetation health. Other data sources give access to land cover values at meter resolution, tourism infrastructures locations and many more human activity variables. This information is processed into understandable indicators, aggregated indexes which take international standards and SDGs in their design and usage. An example of these standards are the WHO air quality guidelines providing thresholds quantifying the impact on health of the air pollution in the area of interest. The last step is to gather all the data, maps and correlations computed and design understandable visualizations to make it usable by territory management instances, enabling efficient decision making and risk management. The goal here is to achieve a link between satellite imagery, internationally agreed political commitment  and ground level decision-making.

This meaningful aggregation comes in the shape of operational dashboards. A dashboard is an up-to-date, interactive, evolving online tool hosting temporal and geographical linked visualizations on various indicators. This kind of tool allows for a better understanding of the dynamic of a territory in terms of environmental state, human impact and ecological potential.

How to cite: Plantec, M. and Castel, F.: From satellite data and Sustainable Development Goals to interactive tools and better territorial decision making, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-14519,, 2023.