E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "EO Solutions to Support Countries Implementing the SDGs"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 May 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Zoltán Vekerdy

1Department of Water Resources, Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Hengelosestraat 99, 7500 AA Enschede, The Netherlands
2Department of Water Management, Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Szent István University, Páter Károly u. 1., 2100 Gödöllő, Hungary
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Phone: +31-53 4874363
Interests: Earth Observation of hydrological cycle and agriculture; water management; agro-hydrological modelling
Guest Editor
Mr. Marc Paganini

1European Space Agency (ESA), Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes, Science, Applications and Climate Department, ESRIN, Largo Galileo Galilei 1, Frascati 00044, Italy
2CEOS Ad-Hoc Team on SDGs
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Phone: +39-06 94180 563
Interests: Earth observations science and applications; sustainable development; environmental governance; terrestrial ecosystem structure and processes; biodiversity; land degradation; water and wetlands; urban mapping; multi-temporal and multi-source remote sensing; EO exploitation platforms
Guest Editor
Dr. Argyro Kavvada

1Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Technical Expert, National Aeronautics and Space Administration & Booz Allen Hamilton, 300 E St. SW, Washington, DC 20546, United States
2GEO Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG) Initiative
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 202.358.7331
Interests: Earth science; Earth science applications; climate dynamics; sustainable development; climate adaptation and mitigation; disaster risk reduction; remote sensing; atmospheric science; science policy
Guest Editor
Ms. Andiswa Mlisa

South African National Space Agency (SANSA), Earth Observation Programme, Enterprise Building, Mark Shuttleworth Street, Innovation Hub, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +27 12 843 0315
Interests: Earth observations; capacity building; water resource management; sustainable development; open data platforms; science policy and diplomacy
Guest Editor
Dr. Christoph Aubrecht

1European Space Agency (ESA-ESRIN), Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes, Frascati, Italy
2World Bank, Earth Observation for Sustainable Development Partnership, Washington, DC, USA
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Phone: +1-202-473-5417
Interests: spatio-temporal analytics; integration of Earth Observation and GIScience; sustainable development; urban mapping; population distribution modeling; disaster risk management; exposure analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The international community recently engaged in an ambitious universal agenda on sustainable development with the aim to end poverty, promote prosperity and people’s well-being while protecting the environment. The 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development ratified by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 is a new transformative and integrated development agenda that will drive the global agenda on sustainable development till 2030 and beyond. In total 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets were adopted by the world leaders, which later got translated into 232 indicators that collectively provide a management tool for countries to implement development strategies and report on progress toward the SDG targets. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly stresses the importance of Geospatial Information and Earth Observations (EO) to monitor progress and achieve the SDG targets. Effective monitoring of the SDG indicators and reporting of the progresses towards the SDG targets require the use of multiple types of data that go well beyond the traditional socio-economic data that countries have been exploiting to assess their development policies. Hence, it is considered of crucial importance to integrate data coming from technologies new to this domain, such as EO, in order to produce high-quality and timely information, with more detail, at higher frequencies, and with the ability to disaggregate development indicators. EO, together with modern data processing and analytics, offer unprecedented opportunities to make a quantum leap in the capacities of countries to efficiently track all facets of sustainable development.

Amongst all the SDG targets, those related to a sustainable use of natural resources are of particular importance since pressures on our planet’s environment and finite resources are expected to increase further in the future to support continued economic growth or increased food production and consumption patterns. Recent advances in EO research, both on methodological development and technological solutions, offer promising prospects for helping countries set up informed and evidence-based development policies for an optimum management of terrestrial, coastal and marine resources.

This special issue aims at presenting and showcasing the latest advances in EO solutions for supporting countries in better achieving their SDG targets, monitoring progress and reporting on the SDG global indicator framework. The papers of this special issue will aim at presenting the state of research, with practical cases having a potential for national implementation. Emphasis is put on those SDG targets and indicators that are related to the sustainable use of natural resources. Examples of existing/ongoing national implementation are also welcome.

The increasing spatial, temporal and spectral resolutions of EO data offer an invaluable opportunity for better informing development policies and quantifying various SDG indicators. However, those EO advances pose several challenges related to the acquisition, processing, integration, analysis and understanding of the data which need to be tackled by the scientific community in order to ensure operational applicability.

Instead of theoretical desktop studies, we seek articles about:

  • Robust EO methods for supporting countries in setting development policies (including national targets), monitoring progress toward SDG targets, and reporting on SDG indicators;
  • Multi-source data integration methods (e.g., active/passive remote sensing, optical/microwave, EO/in situ, socio-economic);
  • EO algorithms and workflows for quantifying SDG indicators related to natural resources;
  • Modelling and data assimilation methods for SDG monitoring;
  • Innovative and dedicated EO tools (e.g., on-line platforms, data cubes, open source software, teaching material, etc.).
  • EO solutions to address SDG interlinkages, trade-offs and complementariness (one EO solution – many SDG targets).

These articles shall address, but are not limited to, SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 13 (climate action); SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 15 (life on land).

Where relevant, the articles should tackle the aspects of accuracy, validation, standardisation, limitations and transferability for an easy and seamless integration in national processes and systems.

All articles shall have a practical demonstration in a country, preferably with the involvement of national governmental or scientific authorities.

We hope that this special issue will deliver scientific and practical solutions that can be exploited by countries in the setting and implementation of their SDG related actions.

Dr. Zoltán Vekerdy
Mr. Marc Paganini
Dr. Argyro Kavvada
Ms. Andiswa Mlisa
Dr. Christoph Aubrecht
Guest Editors

Deadline for Full Paper Submission: 15 May 2019

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Sustainable Development
  • SDGs
  • Country level
  • Natural resources
  • Land degradation
  • Land use / land cover, Urban, Agriculture
  • Water
  • Wetlands
  • Rangelands
  • Forestry
  • Biodiversity
  • Costal areas
  • Oceans
  • Ecosystems
  • Methods
  • Indicators
  • Targets
  • Tools
  • Platforms
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Zero hunger
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Climate action
  • Life below water
  • Life on land

Published Papers (1 paper)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-1
Export citation of selected articles as:


Open AccessArticle Earth Observation and Machine Learning to Meet Sustainable Development Goal 8.7: Mapping Sites Associated with Slavery from Space
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(3), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11030266
Received: 14 January 2019 / Accepted: 24 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
PDF Full-text (4727 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
A large proportion of the workforce in the brick kilns of the Brick Belt of Asia are modern-day slaves. Work to liberate slaves and contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 would benefit from maps showing the location of brick kilns. Previous work [...] Read more.
A large proportion of the workforce in the brick kilns of the Brick Belt of Asia are modern-day slaves. Work to liberate slaves and contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 would benefit from maps showing the location of brick kilns. Previous work has shown that brick kilns can be accurately identified and located visually from fine spatial resolution remote-sensing images. Furthermore, via crowdsourcing, it would be possible to map very large areas. However, concerns over the ability to maintain a motivated crowd to allow accurate mapping over time together with the development of advanced machine learning methods suggest considerable potential for rapid, accurate and repeatable automated mapping of brick kilns. This potential is explored here using fine spatial resolution images of a region of Rajasthan, India. A contemporary deep-learning classifier founded on region-based convolution neural networks (R-CNN), the Faster R-CNN, was trained to classify brick kilns. This approach mapped all of the brick kilns within the study area correctly, with a producer’s accuracy of 100%, but at the cost of substantial over-estimation of kiln numbers. Applying a second classifier to the outputs substantially reduced the over-estimation. This second classifier could be visual classification, which, as it focused on a relatively small number of sites, should be feasible to acquire, or an additional automated classifier. The result of applying a CNN classifier to the outputs of the original classification was a map with an overall accuracy of 94.94% with both low omission and commission error that should help direct anti-slavery activity on the ground. These results indicate that contemporary Earth observation resources and machine learning methods may be successfully applied to help address slavery from space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue EO Solutions to Support Countries Implementing the SDGs)

Graphical abstract

Remote Sens. EISSN 2072-4292 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top