Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability (NODES)

Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability (NODES) strives to harness the potential of big data combined with citizen science and machine learning.

© Vladgrin | Dreamstime

© Vladgrin | Dreamstime

NODES will mobilize the tools of citizen and data science combined with Earth observations to monitor, analyze, and foster progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To realize this vision, NODES will exploit novel data ecosystems in which several actors interact via infrastructure, analytics, and applications to produce, analyze, exchange, and consume data. Three main cross-fertilizing pillars characterize the research focus of NODES: 

  1. Advancing the field of citizen science: NODES will remain at the forefront of citizen science from conceptual advancements to innovations in citizen science practice, including the development of new means to acquire, analyze, and openly share citizen science data, as well as how citizen science can contribute to the SDGs and sustainability.

  2. Enriching Earth observation: NODES will utilize new types of Earth observation technology (e.g., high-resolution imagery, drones, and the Internet of things (IoT)) and develop applications that focus on the interplay between Earth observation and citizen science using Geo-Wiki tools, various forms of remote sensing, and on site observation.

  3. Exploiting the digital revolution: NODES will harness the opportunities arising from the digital revolution by exploiting advancements in computing capabilities, data science (e.g., machine and deep learning), environmental informatics, and the geospatial sciences, among others, to enhance integrated systems science research and generate new and innovative data sets for further insights.

NODES anticipates having a large impact in the field of innovative data science, particularly at the intersection of citizen science and Earth observation. The group envisages its ultimate value as contributing to the faster diffusion of knowledge derived from various forms of Earth observation, in part by facilitating open data with findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability (FAIR) data principles. It is foreseen that NODES will have an important impact in contributing to SDG monitoring and implementation while providing inputs to a future framework of indicators. Furthermore, the group seeks to have impact in the field of citizen science with regard to building both the trust and engagement of a larger segment of society, with citizens becoming part of the scientific process while increasing the overall acceptance of scientific outcomes. These impacts will be realized in both the near and longer term in the form of cumulative effects.

Latest news

04 June 2021
To achieve the SDGs, we need better data

IIASA researchers have contributed to a new global campaign that illustrates the centrality of data to sustainable development with a project that uses citizen science to monitor marine litter in Ghana for official UN Sustainable Development Goals reporting.  More

30 March 2021
New oil palm map to inform policy and landscape-level planning

IIASA researchers have used Sentinel 1 satellite imagery from the European Space Agency to produce a map of the extent and year of detection of oil palm plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand that will help policymakers and other stakeholders understand trends in oil palm expansion to inform landscape-level planning.  More

07 May 2020
IIASA researchers win Innovative Applications in Analytics Award 2020

IIASA researchers, in collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, have been awarded first place in the 2020 Innovative Applications in Analytics Award.  More

Upcoming events

28 Oct 2021 - 29 Oct 2021
2021 ADBI-ADB-IIASA Workshop on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Technologies and Governance in Urban Development

This workshop will feature keynotes by Prof Sebastian Galiani and Prof Meera Mehta, and include a diversity of presentat... More

Past events

26 May 2021 - 28 May 2021
Join EuropaBON’s first stakeholder workshop!

The Europa Biodiversity Observation Network - EuropaBON is hosting its first stakeholder workshop aiming to develop a ... More

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Last edited: 13 July 2021


Ian McCallum

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 328

Dahlia Domian

Program and Project Officer Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 293


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Fraisl, D. (2021). Global Citizen Science Partnership (GCSP). In: United Nations World Data Forum, 3-6 October 2021.

Wehn, U., Ajates, R., Fraisl, D. , Gharesifard, M., Gold, M., Hager, G. , Oliver, J.L., See, L. , et al. (2021). Capturing and communicating impact of citizen science for policy: A storytelling approach. Journal of Environmental Management 295, e113082. 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113082.

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