GEO Data Portal

The GEO Data Portal is the authoritative source for data sets used by UNEP and its partners in the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) report and other integrated environment assessments. Its online database holds more than 450 different variables, as national, sub-regional, regional and global statistics or as geospatial data sets (maps), covering themes such as Freshwater, Population, Forests, Emissions, Climate, Disasters, Health and GDP. The data can be displayed and explored on-the-fly through maps, graphs, data tables, downloaded in various popular formats, or copied and pasted into word processors.

The successful development and wide usage of the Data Portal, combined with strong demand from regions and countries, has lead to various initiatives to install regional manifestations of the Data Portal in certain parts of the world. Guided and supported by DEWA/GRID-Europe staff, these regional GEO Data Portals are to provide additional and more detailed data from the region itself, capturing regional and national information sources and improve access to core environmental data sets for use in GEO and related assessment and reporting work.
The first region that has started to develop such a data system is Latin American & Caribbean region (LAC). After various consultations and review meetings held in the region, the GEO LAC Data Portal will be formally launched in early 2006.

In the West Asia region, a first start has been made by applying the global GEO Data Portal template for its regional implementation. This prototype was set-up in the summer 2005 during a consultation in Abu Dhabi, and currently is undergoing minor adoptions and changes, before being further developed to fulfill the data needs of the regional user community. A similar approach is taken in the Asia& Pacific region, where the prototype GEO Data Portal has been developed in the second half of the year 2005, and has been reviewed last November before taking the next steps.

In Africa, the regional Data Portal has already progressed substantially, being compatible with the global Data Portal and envisaged to capture much more data and indicators to serve the GEO process, including the African Environment Outlook and other initiatives in and of the region.

Access to the GEO Data Portal:

GRID-Europe Data Sets

The GRID-Europe database is maintained for the purpose of assisting the international community and individual nations in making sound decisions related to resource management and environmental planning, and where applicable providing data for scientific studies. Within the overall GRID-network, GRID-Europe focuses on the acquisition or creation, documentation, archive and dissemination of Global and European digital georeferenced environmental data.

GRID-Europe's data sets are created or obtained and held in the form of computerised maps and are most frequently distributed in this format. These data sets are always spatially referenced; that is, they carry geographic information that allows them to be used in analyses of both the human and physical environments, typically using GIS and Image Processing (IP) software. GRID-Europe also holds a significant number of statistical and tabular databases concerning, in particular, the human environment.

GRID-Europe's Global and European databases consists of a wide variety of thematic layers, such as climate, soils, vegetation and water-related data sets, as well as infrastructural and socio-economic data sets on human population, boundaries, roads and railways. These data sets are fully documented in an electronic catalogue known as "meta-database".

Link to DEWA~Europe/GRID-Europe Data Distribution Policy

Envirocat - the Swiss catalogue for environmental data

GRID-Europe has been working on the Swiss Catalogue of Environmental Data (ENVIROCAT) since 1998 (called CHCDS
before its complete rebuild in 2004). This Federal Office for Environment (FOEN) project is included in the Swiss environmental monitoring process. The tool, available online at, facilitates the establishment of an environmental network where all aspects from the legal basis, data collection and data management, to environmental reporting, are covered and interlinked.

The application hosted and maintained by GRID-Europe is evolving each year and the new version has been launched at the beginning of 2006. Essentially, this new version allows the metadata authors to translate their metadata, upload and store directly the data described by the meta-data on the server, and to include a direct link to the geospatial meta-data still described in the Swiss geographic Catalogue ( In addition, a new element type 'Indicator' has been included. This reinforces the capacity of ENVIROCAT to follow the Swiss environmental monitoring process, completing information still existing about legislations, databases, data sets, surveys, projects and products.

Currently, ENVIROCAT offers approximately 1800 environmental meta-data (data 30%, Experts 25%, Documents 18%, Organisations 13%, Laws 5%, Surveys 4%, etc.).

Links to other Environmental Data Sources

This page contains links to various Environmental Data Sources categorized in International Sources, European Sources and National/Sub-national Sources in Europe.