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During lockdown in April and May 2020, the #scenefromabove podcast held a series of lunchtime networking chats with people all over the world. Alastair wrote about them here. We weren’t sure how they were going to go, but they introduced some really interesting ideas and themes. Two really stayed with me. From our first chat on growth in the sector, education kept coming up as a significant issue to growth – how do we get growth if base knowledge is so hard to come by? There are hundreds of resources, webpages, books, podcasts (!), videos and online courses – but still, outside of the sector little is known about Earth Observation other than Google Earth. The second was on ‘cool projects on github’. I hadn’t appreciated how many different Earth Observation projects there now are on github. In fact, I asked at the time, is there something like a resource or awesome list of these projects out there? The answer was a resounding no. From that point, awesome-earthobservation-code was born.

What is awesome?

An awesome list is a resource that contains useful information about a topic. It is meant to be useful and hence, curated, rather than just a list. To be awesome requires resources to be recommended or ideally contributed by others.

“Only awesome is awesome. Research if the stuff you’re including is actually awesome. Only put stuff on the list that you or another contributor can personally recommend. You should rather leave stuff out than include too much.”

There are hundreds of awesome lists on a multitude of topics (including various Geospatial ‘things’). The official ones are listed on the awesome github page.

Paying it forward

It is hard to show appreciation for the help I have recieved over the years, from blogs, stackoverflow posts, user forums, twitter etc etc. Obviously these things can be liked, upvoted, reshared, retweeted. However I hope via blogging and podcasting I can make a contribution. I think awesome-earthobservation-code is a good opportunity to do so as well.


At the time of writing we have:

  • 21 separate direct contributors (they are all listed here)
  • Created 404 resources 309 of which are github repos (~76%)
  • 11 youtube videos and 8 medium accounts
  • 43 forks and 214 github stars (making it the 5th most starred repo for earth-observation on github)
  • Over 30 resources devoted to the R language and well over 100 for Python

I have spoken about awesome-earthobservation-code at BARSC and FOSS4GUKOnline 20202 – you can get the slides from here.

Or you can watch the video from FOSS4GUKOnline here:

Or listen to the #scenefromabove podcast episode on it here

I have also written a small chunk of code that will convert the github repo into plain html that you can import directly as links into your browser (firefox works). The code is here or you can dowload the latest raw html (associated to this post) here.


You can contribute! The guidelines are here. You can also contribute indirectly and you can do that by starring the project and then I’ll go and look at other projects you have starred and forked and curated and add any missing ones to awesome-earthobservation-code. This is a great way to widen the reach and share with others.

Next steps

I’ve felt that there are probably 500 resources to capture so we are not quite there yet. It’s been eye opening seeing the number of projects on R and the huge volume of deep learning code (driven by Kaggle and SpaceNet perhaps?), I suspect there are plenty of others that I’ve missed.

At some point we will reach maturity and then some consolidation will have to take place. I suspect some sections will need to be broken up a bit, new headings and sections created. The idea is to make this as useable as possible. You can help!

The end?

It is not the end, just the start. In March 2020 this project didn’t exist. A lot can be done in a short period. I am convinced collaboration is the way forward for our sector. The best open communities grow in collaborative environments, but you don’t need to be a developer to contribute to an open community, you could just share some cool links.

I am a freelancer able to help you with your projects. I offer consultancy, training and writing. Iā€™d be delighted to hear from you.

Feel free to connect or follow me; I am always keen to talk about Earth Observation.

I am @map_andrew on twitter