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.

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Last edited: 11 March 2021


Ian McCallum

Research Group Leader

Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group|Advancing Systems Analysis Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 328


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