Use of Earth Observation Data (FAO-EOSTAT)

Launched in 2019, FAO’s EOSTAT project uses next generation Earth observation tools to produce land cover and land use statistics. Initially deployed in Senegal and Uganda, then expanded to 21 countries, the innovative approach supported by FAO’s Data Lab relies on free of charge Earth observation data, vegetation and climate modelling, as well as field survey data to build countries’ capacity to produce seasonal crop type maps, annual land cover maps that are standardized, accurate, granular and validated. FAO and its partners are now seizing the opportunity to expand the project to other countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to make agrifood systems more resilient and achieve Zero Hunger.


FAO has developed a number of online tools and resources to assist countries in using EOSTAT.

Map story
FAO-EOSTAT: EO data for Official Agricultural Statistics

Building capacity in Senegal, Uganda, Afghanistan, Lesotho

Map story
Land cover atlas 2017–2021 (Lesotho)

Monitoring and measuring land from space

Online tool
Land Cover Mapper online tool (Lesotho)

Interactive EOSTAT tool for exploring land cover and environmental indicators in Lesotho

Online tool
Crop Mapper online tool (Ecuador)

EOSTAT tool for estimating crop yield for different crops in Ecuador

Uso de teledetección en las estadísticas e informes agrícolas en América Latina. Estado de situación

This report, a joint effort by IICA, NASA Harvest, University of Maryland, AMA, and FAO, focuses on assessing the adoption and effectiveness of Earth...

FAO-EOSTAT project training

Launched in 2021 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the EOSTAT project uses next generation Earth observation tools...

Lesotho: Land cover atlas 2017–2023

The NextGen-Atlas of Lesotho provides information on the land cover distribution at multiple geographical levels and across the time frame 2017-2022:...


By: Rajendra Aryal, FAO Representative in Indonesia and Timor-Leste and Imam Machdi, Deputy Chief Statistician, BPS-Statistics Indonesia. 
The innovative approach developed by FAO relies on free of charge Earth observation data, vegetation and climate modeling, as well as field survey data to build the Government of Lesotho’s capacity to produce official annual land cover map that are standardized, accurate, granular and validated
Landscape in Lesotho
The WaPOR water-efficiency portal and a land-cover monitoring project in Lesotho both contribute to SDG monitoring


INE Chile advances in the development of an updated land cover and use map with the support of FAO
27/05/2024 - 30/05/2024

Within this framework, a consultancy was carried out by the Brazilian international expert Gilberto Camara, under the auspices of FAO.

FAO's EOSTAT programme supports Cameroon in utilizing a Crop Yield Mapper
26/03/2024 - 27/03/2024

Modernizing agricultural statistics in Cameroon

Hybrid Event

EO for Agriculture Under Pressure 2024 Workshop
13/05/2024 - 16/05/2024

The European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission (EC), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and GEOGLAM...

Virtual Event

International Webinar on Earth Observations for Agricultural Statistics (EOSTAT)

International Webinar on Earth Observations for Agricultural Statistics (EOSTAT): EO Data Cubes, Smart Classification Algorithms, Impacts of Disasters...

Virtual Event

EXPO2020 webinar series: Mobilizing Big Data and Data Science for the Sustainable Development Goals

Expo 2020 - Dubai, the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, presents an immense opportunity to inspire, empower and drive...

Virtual Event

Workshop on strengthening the use of geospatial information for the production of SDG indicators

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Digital Earth Africa and the UN Statistics Division (UNSD) are working together to provide capacity...

Virtual Event

The impact of EO for the 2030 Agenda | GEO Week

This side event provided a platform for discussion of the road to 2030 to further create and promote integrated results at speed and at scale required...

Virtual Event

[FAO x Data Strategy] How to Use Earth Observation Data for Agricultural Statistics & SDG Monitoring

FAO, in collaboration with the Data Strategy, hosted a webinar on the use of Earth Observation data for the production of official agricultural...

Virtual Event

FAO Webinar Series: Earth observation data for agricultural statistics
08/03/2023 - 10/05/2023

From 8 March to 10 May 2023, FAO's Office of Chief Statistician organized a Webinar Series on Earth observation data for agricultural statistics. The...

Hybrid Event

GEO Week 2023 and GEO SDG Awards
06/11/2023 - 10/11/2023

GEO Week 2023 took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 6-10 November 2023. 

Our team


Dr. Lorenzo De Simone graduated in forestry science in 2001 and specialized in Earth Observations during his research work at University of California Santa Barbara, at the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, the University of Federico II Naples, and at the University of Basilicata in Italy where he obtained his PhD in Agriculture Engineering in 2006.

Dr De Simone has worked for FAO for 15 years in his capacity as earth observation expert in the area of land cover/use mapping, crop type mapping and yield estimation, and agro-ecological modelling. He is responsible for the supporting technical capacity in national statistics offices on the use of EO for crop statistics and is currently leading the implementation of national pilots in 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle east, and in South Eastern Asia.  

Dr. De Simone is appointed as Technical Adviser for Geospatial within the Office of the Chief Statistician in FAO and is leading the Earth Observations for Statistics (EOSTAT) aiming at supporting the modernization of official crop statistics in NSOs.

Since 2020 Dr De Simone is co-chairing with the World Bank and INEGI the UN Task Team on EO for Agricultural Statistics under the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data (UNCBD), is the Chair of the Board of the EO4SDG initiative of GEO, and is active member of the GEOGLAM task teams on validation of land cover products, in situ data and capacity building.

Vivian Kerubo Ondieki is a Geospatial Data Scientist in the team of the Office of the Chief Statistician of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) where she works primarily on building workflows using remote sensing, and machine learning techniques for crop and land cover monitoring. Vivian holds a Master’s degree in Geoinformatics and Geodata science from University of specializing on applying Machine learning and deep learning technologies on Satellite time series data

Phibion Chiwara is a Remote Sensing and GIS expert with more than 15 years’ experience working as a researcher, university lecturer and a consultant.

He gained vast experience working in both government and donor-funded development projects that investigate human-landscape interaction, particularly in the crop-livestock production systems of Zimbabwe.

He has done research to unmask the implications of land use and land cover changes on rangeland land degradation, water management and carbon sequestration.

In 2012 he won the prestigious Erasmus Mundus Joint Scholarship and graduated with a double masters in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for Environmental Modelling and Management from the University of Southampton and Lund University. He is also a holder of a BSc in Geography and Environmental Studies from Midlands State University, Zimbabwe.

His interests are grounded on his passion to utilise geospatial technologies for social good.

Prof. Dr. Gilberto Câmara is a Brazilian researcher in Geoinformatics, GIScience, Spatial Analysis, and Land Use Modelling, who is a Senior Research Fellow at Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

He is internationally recognized for promoting free access for geospatial data and for setting up an efficient satellite monitoring of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. After retiring from INPE in June 2016 after 35 years of work, he continues to conduct R&D activities at INPE as a Senior Research Fellow.

He was Director of the Secretariat of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), for the period July 2018 to June 2021. In this function, he applied his vision on open knowledge to help developing nations to best use Earth observation data for improving societal well-being and sustainable development practices.

As recognition for his work, he was inducted as a Doctor honoris causa from the University of Münster (Germany) and as a Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre National du Mérite of France. He received the Global Citizen Award of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association. He is also a Fellow of the Faculty of Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente (Netherlands) and a Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He received the William T. Pecora award from NASA and USGS for "leadership to the broad and open access to remote sensing data".

Muhammad Fahad is a GIS and Remote Sensing professional having more than 12 years of experience working in different roles and three different geographic locations as project manager, consultant, data analyst, and GIS/Geomatics Engineer. 

His interests range from Geo-Spatial technology to business insights and management. He is also a research scholar and published several scientific research papers in international journals and presented in different international conferences.

Michigan State University

Bruno Basso is John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor and MSU Foundation Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Michigan State University.

He is an agroecosystem scientist and a crop systems modeler with interest in long-term sustainability of agricultural systems, digital agriculture, circular bioeconomy.

His research focuses on assessing and modeling spatial and temporal variability of crop yield, soil organic carbon, GHG emission, water, and nutrients fluxes across agricultural landscapes under current and future climates.

He holds global patents on AI, remote sensing, and crop model systems to evaluate cropland productivity and environmental sustainability.

UC Louvain

Sophie Bontemps is a senior scientist and project manager in remote sensing at the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium.

Sophie has worked as a project manager of the ESA Sen2-Agri, Sen4CAP, and Sen4Stat projects. She is also involved in establishing in situ data collection guidelines and capacity-building activities, and she acts as co-chair of the CEOS Land Product Validation Subgroup, focusing on land cover. She is also part of the GEOGLAM Executive Committee.

Pierre Defourny received the Ph.D. degree in agricultural engineering from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, in 1992.

He spent several years in remote sensing research in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America.

He is the Founding President of the Earth and Life Institute.

He is currently a Full Professor with UCLouvain. He also leads the Geomatics Research Laboratory with a special focus on open source system development to exploit Sentinel missions for agriculture and forestry monitoring.

His research interests include developing monitoring systems of land cover/land-use change across spatial and temporal scales.