Document / Publication
European Commission (EC)
The Atlas of the Human Planet presents the key findings of the analysis of the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL). This data set reports the growth of built-up and population in the last 40 years (1975-2015) at an unprecedented level of detail. The document aims to support the monitoring of the implementation of the post-2015 international frameworks: the UN Third Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III, 2016), the post-2015 framework on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (DRR).
The GHSL baseline data released with the Atlas provides a framework to learn from the last 40 years and to closely monitor present and future policy impacts. It demonstrates how new open data and innovative data processing technologies may support novel global awareness on urbanization trends and dynamics.
Crisis management relies on information on hazard, exposure and vulnerability, and it is the physical size of human settlements that is a main source of information for calculating physical exposure. Satellite imagery can, therefore, be an extremely important data source and can be used to derive exposure at all scales. The more precise the information, the better the outcome. Slope and elevation are also especially relevant for calculating risks associated with a changing climate. The accurate mapping of settlement locations in low-lying areas and emerging hazardous zones is essential to devise mitigation or adaptation strategies.