The Pacific islands are among the countries most vulnerable to sea level rise globally.

Vanuatu Globe was a project that was developed out of the Pacific Australia Climate Change Science and Adaption Planning Program (PACCSAP) – a program funded by the Australian Government to help Pacific Island countries better understand and prepare for the potential impacts of climate change. The CRCSI appointed 43pl partner, NGIS Australia, to provide the capacity building component of the program.

The capacity building component of the project aimed to provide governments and communities within each Pacific Island nation with the capacity and tools to effectively plan for sea level rise.

 Throughout 2013, the CRCSI and NGIS attended in-country scoping missions to determine each country’s requirements, and subsequently undertook a series of training programs to build the desired mapping capabilities of each respective government. As part of the capacity building, the program needed to provide the people of Vanuatu with access to the acquired data so they could increase sea level rise and coastal flooding awareness to enable effective planning and decision making.

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 Lighthouse Award Dominc Ranson Cooper Minister Julie Bishop Nathan Quadros Nathan EatonPresenting the work at Paris COP21.

The Challenge

During the Vanuatu planning mission NGIS and the CRCSI worked with the Vanuatu government to get buy in and support for the Vanuatu Globe. Making the extremely valuable LiDAR data free, highly available and highly accessible to everyone was a new concept for the Vanuatu government and, a very different approach to climate change awareness.

 Many aid programs have been implemented using software that has taken little into the consideration for its accessibility and capability post implementation. NGIS and CRCSI were focused on long term sustainability and ensuring that the high resolution data and inundation models were available, to the key decision makers and policy builders in Vanuatu, in a medium that was familiar and easy to use.

The Solution

The Vanuatu Globe was established by NGIS using the industry leading Google Maps Engine Cloud technology. The resulting globe provided consolidated access to a wealth of high resolution elevation data and aerial photography, including inundation layers to illustrate the predicted impact of sea level rise for Vanuatu.

A focus for the Vanuatu program was on creating awareness, use and distribution of the valuable information. The recent internet fibre cable connected from Fiji made this possible.

“As a cloud based application Google Maps Engine will allow the government of Vanuatu to focus on the dissemination and applications of the data by having Google manage the Globe's infrastructure and software,” added Dr Quadros.

During the capacity building, training was provided on the Vanuatu Globe to ministry staff. To help teachers increase climate change awareness in schools, a course called “Climate change mapping forteachers” was delivered using Google Earth and the Vanuatu Globe.

Key Benefits

  • Easy to use visualization tool for the effects of climate change
  • A platform in which the government of Vanuatu can educate its community on the impact of climate change
  • A planning tool for government agencies to put mitigation measure in place to reduce the risks of coastal inundation
  • A teachers aid to educate future generations of Vanuatu about the effects of climate change

The Results

The Vanuatu Globe provides high resolution data across Vanuatu with inundation layers for predicted sea level rise for 2030, 2055 and 2090. The release of the globe has provided the people of Vanuatu with an effective planning tool giving the government insight into the challenges the Island faces adapting to climate change.

Many Pacific Islands countries are now implementing a range of measures to mitigate the impacts of storm surge and inundation including sea walls and mangroves.

The Vanuatu Globe project will allow government ministries to focus policies, planning and development for change mitigation.

“The Vanuatu Globe is going to change how planning is done in Vanuatu to accommodate the effect of climate change and the disaster risk reductions and considerations,” said Brian Phillips, Manager of the National Advisory Board on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu Globe and the White House

The Vanuatu Globe was show cased at the White House Climate Data Initiative launch as a leading example around the world for increasing climate change awareness through the use of mapping. The Climate Data Initiative is focused on using technology, data and the cloud for climate change awareness and modelling.

“The project has been an absolute success. Vanuatu ministers and leaders have used the Vanuatu Globe to demonstrate the predicted extent of inundation for their regions to increase awareness,” said Dr Quadros.

The Vanuatu Globe is available from the Vanuatu National Advisory Board on Climate Change and Disaster Reduction website


Nathan Quadros 2013 sqDr Nathan Quadros
General Manager - Business