Category: Nonprofit

All in on AI: Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector

From computer vision systems for autonomous driving to FDA-approved medical imaging, artificial intelligence (AI) is driving public sector innovation. Governments, defense agencies, and other public sector organizations are adding AI into their platform, solutions, and products to perform tasks that usually require human-level intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision making, or translation.

In order to change the way services are delivered to the blind or to inspire the next generation of space explorers, organizations need to overcome hurdles related to the scale of data, scale of compute, and variety of devices and platforms that intelligent systems need to ultimately run on. To be able to realize impactful results, Amazon AI breaks down services into three main layers, which sit on top of the AWS infrastructure and network:

  • AI Services: Application developers can easily add built-in intelligence into their solutions using the Amazon AI Services. AI Services are powered by machine learning and deep learning, but provide higher level services to add intelligence into your applications. These AI Services include: Amazon Rekognition for image and facial analysis, Amazon Polly for text-to-speech, and Amazon Lex, an automatic speech recognition and natural language understanding service for building conversational chat bots. Within the public sector, Rekognition is being used to build facial search databases, user verification, sentiment analysis, and image classification and tagging of entities.
  • AI Platforms: If you have existing data and want to build custom models, we provide a set of AI platforms which remove the heavy lifting associated with deploying and managing AI training and model hosting: Amazon Machine Learning (with both batch and real-time prediction on custom linear models) and Amazon EMR (with Spark and Spark ML support).
  • AI Engines: A collection of open-source, deep learning frameworks for academics and data scientists who want to build cutting edge, sophisticated intelligent systems, pre-installed configured on a convenient machine image. Engines, such as Apache MXNet, TensorFlow, Caffe, Theano, Torch, and CNTK, provide flexible programming models for training custom models at scale. For example, Apache MXNet scales almost linearly across hundreds of GPUs, training efficient models which can be run anywhere from new, custom Intel processors and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to embedded devices on robots and drones.

AI in the Real World

The below organizations serving the public use some of Amazon AI services:

Nonprofits: The Royal National Institute of Blind People is able to change the way services are being delivered to the blind by using AWS. “We are currently using Amazon’s Speech-to-Text technology to create and distribute accessible information in the form of synthesized audio content for our many B2B and B2C customers, including utility companies, financial institutions, and media companies, as well as other customer-facing material such as magazines and publications. With the announcement of Amazon Polly, we’re excited about the ability to provide an even better experience to these customers by delivering incredibly lifelike voices that will captivate and engage our audience,” said John Worsfold, Solutions Implementation Manager, Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Health: Ohio Health, a nonprofit health organization, is utilizing evolving speech recognition and natural language processing technology to enhance the lives of its customers. “Amazon Lex represents a great opportunity for us to deliver a better experience to our patients. Everything we do at OhioHealth is ultimately about providing the right care to our patients at the right time and in the right place. Amazon Lex’s next generation technology and the innovative applications we are developing using it will help provide an improved customer experience. We are just scratching the surface of what is possible,” said Michael Krouse, Senior Vice President Operational Support and Chief Information Officer, Ohio Health.

Government: Leveraging Lex, the backend that powers Amazon Alexa, NASA, in order to spark innovation, has built a voice activated version of the MARS robot. A star robotic ambassador is “Rov-E,” a close replica of real NASA Mars rovers. NASA staff can easily navigate Rov-E via voice commands. Multi-turn dialog management capability enables Rov-E “to talk,” answering students’ questions about Mars in an engaging way. Integration with AWS services allows Rov-E to connect and scale with various data sources to retrieve NASA’s Mars exploration information.

Financial Services: Using Amazon EMR, FINRA is able to capture, analyze, and store a daily influx of 75 billion records in order to identify fraud and other anonymous activities.

Law Enforcement: Using various models, ShotSpotter delivers real-time gunshot notifications to law enforcement so they can dispatch to the precise location of the gunshot, engage with the community, look for evidence and occasionally help victims and make arrests. Their goal is to help drive down illegal gun use. Also, Washington County Sheriff’s Department uses Rekognition to be able to cross reference persons of interest with mugshots in their system. This allows for the department to drive leads quicker and allow investigators to focus on valuable leads.

Defense Agencies: The defense community is also starting to use machine learning systems to identify advanced persistent threats in their networks. They are using machine learning to provide enhanced endpoint protections and predict the potential threat of certain behaviors by privileged users with system admin roles.

Education: Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana uses machine learning for more than 70% accuracy in predicting students who are struggling, enabling faster intervention.

Learn more about AI at AWS here as well as in Werner Vogels’ keynote from the AWS Public Sector Summit and other AI-related sessions.

Announcements from the AWS Public Sector Summit 2017

We just wrapped the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington D.C with over 10,000 registrations, 100 business and technical sessions, and 95 partners participating.

At the Summit, Werner Vogels, Amazon’s CTO, and Teresa Carlson, AWS’s VP of Worldwide Public Sector, took the main stage at the Summit to share announcements affecting our public sector customers.

Read about the announcements below:

  • AWS GovCloud (US) Heads East – New Region in the Works for 2018: AWS GovCloud (US) gives AWS customers a place to host sensitive data and regulated workloads in the AWS Cloud. The first AWS GovCloud (US) Region was launched in 2011 and is located in the western US. We are working on a second Region that we expect to open in 2018. The upcoming AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region will provide customers with added redundancy, data durability, and resiliency, and will also provide additional options for disaster recovery. Learn more here.
  • Amazon Rekognition Available in AWS GovCloud (US-West): Amazon Rekognition, an AI service, that enables software developers to quickly and easily build applications that analyze images, and recognize faces, objects, and scenes, is now available in AWS GovCloud (US-West). Amazon Rekognition uses deep learning technologies to automatically identify objects and scenes, such as vehicles, weapon or alley, and provides a confidence score that lets developers tag images, so that application users can search for specific images using key words.
  • City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge: AWS announced the winners of the 2017 AWS City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge at the AWS Public Sector Summit. We recognized 19 winners across the three award categories of the competition – Best Practices, Dream Big, and Partners in Innovation. The competition was designed to recognize how local and regional governments are innovating on behalf of citizens across the globe.
  • AWS Education Competency: We announced the AWS Education Competency, a recognition of the highest bar for AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners who provide solutions to meet the needs of education customers. AWS Education Competency Partners have demonstrated technical proficiency and proven customer success providing specialized solutions aligning with AWS architectural best practices to help support teaching and learning, administration, and academic research efforts in education.
  • California Polytechnic State University Goes All-In on AWS:  Also, we announced that California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), one of the top engineering schools in the nation, will migrate all core applications to AWS. By choosing the cloud with the most functionality, the fastest pace of innovation, the largest ecosystem of customers and partners, and the most proven operating and security expertise, Cal Poly is well-positioned to offer a best-in-class student experience. Learn more here.

We also heard from global cloud leaders transforming their organization with the power of the cloud, including Ocean Conservancy, UK Ministry of Justice, Australian Taxation Office, Blackboard, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Check out some of the photos from the event and stay tuned for videos and slides from the breakout sessions.

Technical Training for the Future Cloud Workforce

This week, the Washington, DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) and AWS celebrated the first cohort in the Pathways Scholarship program. The program is designed to create tech opportunities for the under and unemployed in Washington, DC, by providing a program with resources, training, employment, and ongoing support. This is a collaboration between the DC government, AWS, and local nonprofit organizations focused on technical training.

At the launch event at Washington DC’s Inclusion Innovation Incubator (In3), Tricia Davis-Muffett, Senior Leader for AWS Public Sector Marketing said, “without engaging the whole population of available tech talent, our customers will not be able to build, our partners will not be able to build, and we will not be able to build. It is critical for us that we engage every person in the technology revolution.”

Every person and organization involved with the program is committed to building an inclusive environment within their own organization. The individual path that an organization takes will be unique, but the outcome must be the same – include the excluded, train the untrained, and employ the under and unemployed.

The organizations involved include the nonprofits Byte Back and Thinkful, along with mentoring support from In3 and The Mentor Method.

With thousands of open technical and non-technical roles at AWS and within our customers and partner organizations, AWS aims to be at the forefront of training and building the future tech workforce.

To get started with training or learn about our inclusion efforts, visit


Open Earth Observation Data for a Changing Planet

A guest post by Steven Ramage, Group on Earth Observations (GEO)

The environment is measured with precision through Earth Observation (EO) satellite and in-situ – and the global community is leveraging this investment by accessing the information for free. The Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), developed over the last decade, makes more than 200,000,000 open EO data resources accessible for better decisions on a range of areas from food security to protection of biodiversity, renewable energy and disaster resilience. With more than 150 data providers, an important element of GEOSS is a brokering framework called the GEO DAB (Discovery and Access Broker). The GEO DAB makes use of cloud IaaS and PaaS AWS capabilities including load balancing, DNS routing, auto-scaling, monitoring, elastic map reduce, storage, and computing.

Our changing planet is characterized every day by extreme weather events and increasing numbers of people vulnerable to the elements due to poor living conditions. With data becoming available in real time, wildfires can be identified and tracked and flooding can be predicted. Volcanoes and earthquakes have devastating consequences, but rescue missions can harness EO to speed up emergency response.

Fossil fuel energy use accounts for more than two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions and GEO is committed to increasing the global share of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, in combination with energy efficiency, to help limit a further rise in global temperature. GEO’s energy community portal developed in partnership with MINES ParisTech supports many renewable energy related programmes, including the ones from the European Commission H2020 and Copernicus programmes, and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Global Atlas for Renewable Energy project linked to the World Bank’s programmes for mapping renewable energy resources with EO data, ESMAP. Detailed information at high resolution that is broadly available allows improved cost estimates for governments or businesses looking to expand energy development.

Deforestation and forest degradation are the second leading cause of global warming, responsible for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The process of photosynthesis in plants takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, so there is a strong incentive to stop the destruction of forests. GEO’s Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) is helping developing countries measure, report and verify forest areas and carbon stocks, critical not just for the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, also for the UN Agenda 2030.

The GEOSS evolution includes big data analytics to move from data sharing to information and knowledge generation and sharing, in particular to support the UN Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). GEO supports:

  • Sustainable Development Goal 2 (zero hunger) through its GEOGLAM crop monitors.
  • Goals 3 and 11 through activities for air quality.
  • Goal 6 on water through water quality analysis.
  • Goals 11 and 15 on land consumption and degradation by building developing better. approaches to generating Land Cover products.
  • Goals 14 and 15 on biodiversity and ecosystems by facilitating improved monitoring.
  • Above all, GEO is a global community and partnership and supports SDG Goal 17 of partnerships through its intergovernmental status.

GEO convenes providers and users of open EO data, aiming to highlight best practices and eliminate duplication of effort to harness the Data Revolution for the benefit of humanity. With the support of commercial sector leaders, such as Amazon, this mission is advanced.

Learn more about GEO and visit the where the 200m free and open resources reside.

Note: AWS has provided a research grant via the Cloud Credits for Research program to GEO to support their mission of connecting government institutions, academic and research institutions, data providers, businesses, engineers, scientists and experts to create innovative solutions to global challenges.


Join Teresa Carlson, Werner Vogels, and More at the AWS Public Sector Summit

We are excited to announce our lineup of customer keynote speakers joining us on the main stage for the eighth annual AWS Public Sector Summit June 12-14th at the Washington DC Convention Center. Hear these technology leaders from around the world share their firsthand stories of innovation for the public good and how digital transformation is changing the public sector.

  • John G. Edwards, Chief Information Officer, CIA
  • Craig Fox, Assistant Commissioner, Australian Taxation Office
  • Jeffrey D. Armstrong, President, California Polytechnic State University
  • Dr. William Ballhaus, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Blackboard
  • Andreas Merkl, President, Ocean Conservancy
  • Tom Read, Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO), Ministry of Justice UK
  • Ian McCormack, Technical Director Applied Risk Management, National Center for Cyber Security
  • Jessica Kahn, Director, Data and Systems Group (DSG), Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

With only one week until the big event, watch these videos to hear from our two AWS keynote speakers – Werner Vogels, Amazon’s CTO and Teresa Carlson, AWS’s VP of Worldwide Public Sector.  Register today for this event. The event is free to government, education, nonprofits as well as public sector partners. Are you a customer in another industry? We have free registration codes for you!

Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon 

Teresa Carlson, VP of Worldwide Public Sector, AWS

Don’t miss your chance to join AWS and Accenture at the AWS Public Sector Summit. Learn more about the event and register here.

Tepmachcha: An Open-Source, Ultrasonic Stream Gauge Flood Warning System

Guest post by James Happell, Manager, Technology for Development, People in Need Cambodia

The 2013 floods in Cambodia covered almost half the country and affected nearly 1.7 million people. More than 50 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands more were left homeless. Research from BBC Media Trust following the incident stated that “more than a third [of people] received no information about the event that had affected them and three-quarters of those who did only received information during or after the event.” People in Need Cambodia, a non-governmental, nonprofit organization, has developed the Tepmachcha flood detection units as a means to improve the existing methods of flood forecasting and early warning in Cambodia.

Designed by Robert Ryan-Silva from DAI in the US and with funding from USAID’s Development Innovations project, Tepmachcha is a solar-powered, GSM-enabled, sonar-based stream gauge, built on open-source technology. At pre-determined intervals, the device uses sonar detection to measure the height of the water at its location and sends this data over the cellular phone network back to a centralized web dashboard. This web application compares these data points against two pre-determined values. If a dangerous ‘warning’ level of water is detected, the system automatically sends out a mobile alert message to people in the affected areas.

Every minute is vital in a flooding scenario. Prior to the rollout of these devices, water monitoring was done manually and the time from alert to message dissemination could be hours, if not days. With the Tepmachcha units, warning messages are now sent to registered users almost instantly. Early warnings allow people to prepare themselves, their families, and their livelihoods for the oncoming water. This could mean evacuation to the nearest safe site, or staying in their homes and securing their most important possessions; the extra time to prepare can be a matter of life and death.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is an essential part of this solution. The Early Warning System platform is hosted on AWS Elastic Beanstalk instances, as is the Interactive Voice Response service, which sends voice messages to users’ mobile phones. This system would have been far more difficult to configure in the past, and it would have been much more expensive to build in the surge capacity that the system needs. When an emergency occurs, we need the auto-scaling features that AWS Elastic Beanstalk provides to send messages to our more than 50,000 registered users. AWS also provides the stability and performance needed for the system, which cannot afford to go down at the inopportune time.

Three Tepmachcha flood units have been installed over four months in some of the most flood-prone areas of Cambodia. (Data collected from these devices is publicly available here). Not only can this information be used to warn citizens in the impact zone of an impending flood, but the data is also helping provide insights into water levels over time in Cambodia for the National Flood Forecasting Office. We anticipate that this information will allow for even greater predictive flood forecasting in the future.

The second prototype version of the Tepmachcha units is currently under development. This update will allow for over-the-air updates to source code deployed on the devices, something that will save both time and labor. We are looking at utilizing the AWS IoT service for management of the sensor data, as the service offers even more functionality and ease of use than creating a standalone web application. We plan to install more of the devices in the future, as we continue to aspire to protect the lives and livelihoods of even more Cambodians.

Learn more about the power of IoT at the AWS Public Sector Summit June 12-14th in Washington DC with C3 IoT and AWS. Register here.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation Accelerates Research to Cure Parkinson’s with Intel and AWS

Parkinson’s disease (PD) — a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, cognition, mood and autonomic function — affects an estimated 5 million people worldwide. Because symptoms vary from individual to individual, research into the disease is further complicated by the lack of objective data. As is typical of many applications used for clinical research, the collection, storage, and analysis of data is complex, expensive, and time-consuming.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today. As part of a research initiative to evaluate the use of wearable technology to measure and track Parkinson’s symptoms, MJFF partnered with Intel and is utilizing their big data analytics platform to run a number of research projects. This platform is hosted on AWS’s infrastructure, using various scalable big data and IoT technologies, to collect, process and store large streams of de-identified data from the smartphones and wearable devices of study participants.

“The Foundation is working in collaboration with AWS and Intel to ensure that we have a robust technology platform to run effective research studies. Partnering with AWS and Intel ensures that our data is stored securely and efficiently, and allows us to not have to worry about the IT components of the project and really focus on the objective at hand,” said Lauren Bataille, Senior Associate Director, Research Partnerships, The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Research data is hosted on AWS and is made available to Parkinson’s researchers around the world via Intel’s platform. Through analysis, data may reveal new, useful insights about living with Parkinson’s disease.

“Today, the drug development pipeline for Parkinson’s is the best it has been in decades. And when you add the benefit of technology to enable us to complement that genetic information with phenotypic information, basically what it is like to live with the disease every day – that can be a game changer. These are the kinds of dovetailings that could catapult us into much faster progress,” said Deborah W. Brooks, Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Watch this video to learn more about how the Foundation is using big data to gain new insights into Parkinson’s disease and accelerate a cure.

New AWS Training Bootcamps to Help You Build Technical Skills at the AWS Public Sector Summit

New to the AWS Public Sector Summit this year in Washington, DC, you can choose from four full-day bootcamps available on Monday, June 12th.

AWS Training Bootcamps are full-day training sessions that offer you a chance to learn about AWS services and solutions through immersive exercises and hands-on labs. Delivered by experienced AWS Instructors and Solution Architects, these bootcamps allow you to work directly with AWS knowledge experts to get your questions answered.

Choose from one of the four below:

  • AWS Technical Essentials – Audience Level: Introductory – AWS Technical Essentials is a one-day, introductory-level bootcamp that introduces you to AWS products, services, and common solutions. It provides you with fundamentals to become more proficient in identifying AWS services so that you can make informed decisions about IT solutions based on your business requirements and get started working on AWS. Learn more.
  • Secrets to Successful Cloud Transformations – Audience Level: Introductory – Secrets to Successful Cloud Transformations is a one-day, introductory-level bootcamp that teaches you how to select the right strategy, people, migration plan, and financial management methodology needed when moving your workloads to the cloud. This course provides guidance on how to build a holistic cloud adoption plan and how to hire people who will execute that plan. You will learn best practices for choosing workloads to migrate from your on-premises environment to AWS. In addition, you will also learn best practices for managing your AWS expenses and dealing with internal chargebacks. Learn more.  Note: This course focuses on the business, rather than the technical, aspects of cloud transformation.
  • Building a Serverless Data Lake – Audience Level: Advanced – Building a Serverless Data Lake is a one-day, advanced-level bootcamp designed to teach you how to design, build, and operate a serverless data lake solution with AWS services. The bootcamp will include topics such as ingesting data from any data source at large scale, storing the data securely and durably, enabling the capability to use the right tool to process large volumes of data, and understanding the options available for analyzing the data in near-real time. Learn more.
  • Running Container-Enabled Microservices on AWS – Audience Level: Expert – Running Container-Enabled Microservices on AWS is a one-day, expert-level bootcamp that provides an in-depth, hands-on introduction to managing and scaling container-enabled applications. This full-day bootcamp provides an overview of container and microservice architectures. You will learn how to containerize an example application and architect it according to microservices best practices. Hands-on labs that feature the AWS container-focused services show you how to schedule long-running applications and services, set up a software delivery pipeline for your microservices application, and implement elastic scaling of the application based on customer load. Learn more.

All students must bring their own devices (requires dual-core processor with 4GB of RAM). Each bootcamp is $600 and must be reserved in advance. Enter the code PSBOOT100 to get $100 off your ticket. Space is limited, save your spot!

Achieve Total Cost of Operation Benefits Using Cloud

A core reason organizations adopt a cloud IT infrastructure is to save money. The traditional approach of analyzing Total Cost of Ownership no longer applies when you move to the cloud. Cloud services provide the opportunity for you to use only what you need and pay only for what you use. We refer to this new paradigm as the Total Cost of Operation in our latest white paper on “Maximizing Value with AWS.” You can use Total Cost of Operation (TCO) analysis methodologies to compare the costs of owning a traditional data center with the costs of operating your environment using AWS cloud services.

Get started with these cost-saving tips and download the whitepaper for more details:

  1. Create a culture of cost management: All teams can help manage costs, and cost optimization should be everyone’s responsibility. There are many variables that affect cost, with different levers that can be pulled to drive operational excellence.
  2. Start with an understanding of current costs: Having a clear understanding of your existing infrastructure and migration costs and then projecting your savings will help you calculate payback time, estimate ROI, and maximize the value your organization gains from migrating to AWS.
  3. Select the right plan for specific workloads: Moving business applications to the AWS Cloud helps organizations simplify infrastructure management, deploy new services faster, provide greater availability, and lower costs.
  4. Employ best practices: AWS delivers a robust set of services specifically designed for the unique security, compliance, privacy, and governance requirements of large organizations.

With a technology platform that is both broad and deep, professional services and support organizations, training programs, and an ecosystem that is tens of thousands of partners strong, AWS can help you move faster and do more.

Download the whitepaper to learn more.

Learn more about how to save money in the cloud and join CloudCheckr and AWS at the AWS Public Sector Summit June 12-14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Register today!

Happy Earth Day! Spotlight on Nonprofits Dedicated to Helping the Environment

Happy Earth Day! In addition to the environmental benefits associated with running applications in the cloud, AWS has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint. As of the end of 2016, we had achieved our goal of 40% renewable energy, and recently awarded ACORE’s Corporate Innovation and Industry Leadership Award in recognition of Amazon’s commitment to renewable energy.

In addition, AWS provides infrastructure technology to nonprofits around the world whose mission is to help our environment.  Whether it is protecting nature for the benefit of all, promoting sustainability in the building and construction industry, or conserving our oceans, nonprofits should be able to focus their resources on their important work, instead of running their technology infrastructure.

By using AWS, nonprofits can remain mission-focused and concentrate on helping save our world. Previously, we shared stories of nonprofits who use the AWS Cloud to help others. Shifting gears from humanitarian causes to environmental causes, below are four nonprofits dedicated to helping the environment.

Ocean Conservancy:  Climate change and other human impacts have created unprecedented threats to the health of the ocean.  Recent changes, like the collapse of the Great Barrier Reef, indicate tremendous risks to ocean systems, with profound implications for all life.

Ocean Conservancy has partnered with University of Oxford, AWS, and expert advisors from industry and academia (Andreesen Horowitz, Goldman Sachs, climate and marine scientists) to accelerate understanding of ocean risks: what are the most serious scenarios of ocean change, how do we see them coming, and what do we need to do to prevent them?  Using methods that have been effective in improving predictions for the economy and data networks, OSIRIS (Ocean Systems Interactions, Risks, Instabilities and Synergies) leverages AWS High Performance Computing to perform tens of thousands simulations of ocean systems under various conditions, enabling, for the first time, rapid understanding of the combined effects of stressors on the ocean and early indicators of major changes.

“The ocean is at grave risk, creating an imperative to act in a short period of time,” says Andreas Merkl, President of Ocean Conservancy.  “Given the ocean’s vast complexity, traditional research approaches may be too slow for the pace of change we’re experiencing. AWS enables us to use methods that were not possible before to dramatically accelerate our understanding of risks to the ocean and drive action to reduce those risks.”

Conservation International: By partnering and collaborating with scientists, policy makers, and companies like AWS, Conservation International is able to build a healthier, more prosperous, and more productive planet.  Conservation International uses the AWS Cloud, specifically Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), for their Resilience Atlas. The Resilience Atlas is designed to build an understanding of the extent and severity of stresses and disasters affecting rural livelihoods, production systems, and ecosystems and how different types of assets, including natural and financial capital as well as social networks, affect their ability to thrive and even transform in the face of adversity. For the first time, data from satellites, ground-based biophysical measurements, and household surveys – from more than 60 of the best available datasets totaling over 12 terabytes – have been integrated, analyzed and made available in an easy-to-use map interface.

“The open access to this data gives a better understanding of important issues like climate change, flooding, and droughts. In the past, there was no integrated picture of these pieces of data and our connected world demands a system perspective, because decisions about poverty alleviation are not independent from decisions about conservation and what kind of agriculture to invest in,” said Sandy Andelman, Chief Scientist at Conservation International.

U.S. Green Building Council: The U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) promotes sustainability for the built environment, most notably through LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the world’s most widely used green building rating system. USGBC’s web platform serves as the organization’s conduit to communication with the outside world. More than 2 million square feet of space are LEED certified every day in 164 countries and territories, which means maximum uptime, security, and superior performance are integral to the LEED program and critical to the USGBC’s continuing success. The core platform that powers LEED is built on AWS, with some components hosted on-premises.

Jour de la Terre: Jour de la Terre is a Canadian environmental nonprofit that is always on the hunt for creative projects to reduce environmental impacts. Its employees frequently overcome novel challenges in communications, customer relations, logistics, and dispatching. After researching options with trusted advisors who are familiar with the IT needs of small nonprofit organizations, Jour de la Terre chose to shift its IT infrastructure to AWS. AWS data centers in Canada will draw from a regional electricity grid that is 99 percent powered by hydropower.

“As an environmental organization that makes heavy use of IT solutions, we want the impact of our IT infrastructure to be as small as possible, and the first step is simply measuring what that impact is,” says Director General Pierre Lussier. “Are we coding in a low-impact way? Are our servers using energy as efficiently as possible? AWS helps us answer questions about the environmental impact of our IT infrastructure that we never could have answered before.”

Watch this video and learn more about how AWS can help you make the world a better place through technology.