The Google Portal Display at COP 21 in Paris

November 30 through December 11, 2015

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You are reading this because we would like to give you the opportunity of showcasing your work at the Google Portal at the Paris COP 21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. We will bring a collection of immersive displays, world class scientific and nonprofit partners, as well as global content highlighting humans impact on the earth, and digital experiences from the most pristine to endangered areas for public display and discussion.

Below we’ve outlined what the Portal is, a small selection of the types of partners and content that will be shown, an FAQ on the technical and logistical details of presenting and scheduling and some contact information for further questions.  

The Google Portal Display

The Google Portal was designed as an immersive, 10 screen, 3 meter, interactive display to allow users to explore and learn about their world or showcase content. First unveiled at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney last November, Google worked with partners and event organizers for a series of live presentations and discussion.

Portal draws a crowd.gif

The central touch screen podium control, a user interacting with the Portal, partner presentation
with surrounding audience including multi-party remote video conferencing discussion.

A video overview was produced for the retail version of the Google Portal and demonstrates additional features.

Partners / Content

Google has active partnerships with leading scientific and non-profit organizations from around the world focused on environmental, humanitarian, and cultural issues at a global scale by leveraging our technology platforms. A selection of partner presentations highlighting key projects related to climate change at COP 21 are described below, all of which can be presented in an interactive manner on the Portal.

  • European Commission Joint Research Centre: World Water Resources. The first high-resolution global maps of surface water (lakes, rivers, etc.), both current as well as how they have changed over the past 30 years.  Highlights impacts of climate change such as shrinking water resources due to desertification and drought, or flooding in other areas.

  • World Resources Institute & Matt Hansen/UMD: Global Forest Watch & Global Forest Change. The first high-resolution global map of forest change over the last 12 years as well as alerting and reporting platforms for scientists, the media and governments including use in REDD+ forest monitoring systems.

  • XL Catlin Seaview Survey. Interactive underwater street view images show bleached coral from rising water temperatures over a 1 year period in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef followed by humpback whales off the Cook Islands. The team is creating a scientific baseline of imagery, actively monitoring reefs at risk due to human impacts, and showcasing the world’s most pristine ocean environments.

  • UN FAO: Collect Earth. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has developed a platform, leveraging Earth Engine, allowing nations to measure and report land use-related carbon emissions for the first time, as official reports to the UNFCCC. In their initial year, they have already trained over 4000 people in over 40 countries.

  • Google Timelapse. A thirty year, interactive movie of the entire earth, highlighting urban expansion, forest logging, glaciers receding, and rivers changing courses.

  • Google EDU: Highlight of educational Streetview content. Selections include the Galapagos, the Samburu region of Kenya, Jane Goodall Institute’s projects in Tanzania, The Everest region of Nepal, etc

Jane Goodall Institute presenting the Trekker imagery and equipment that was
used to capture Street View in Gombe National Park in Tanzania.

A platform for collaboration, education, and openness

The large scale displays, rich contrast, and open space have always drawn and kept a crowd captivated. Almost any presentation, document, video and even multi-party video conferencing event that can be run in an internet browser can be shown on the Portal. It has been touching to watch multigenerational groups from diverse backgrounds work together to navigate and tell stories on the maps.


Where will the Portal be at COP 21?

The Portal, and Google’s main presence, will be in the public area of the conference, an exposition style hall with people mingling through various booths. It is called many names including the “Climate Generations Area," the "Civic Zone" and the “Green Zone.” It is positioned in the middle of the public area, and a short 5 minute walk from the “credentialed,” “delegate,” or “Blue Zone.” More details on the official COP 21 site.

How will the talks be run?

Given the Portal is in an open space with people walking through, it is best to keep presentations short. Times will be allocated in 30 minute blocks with 10-15 for the main presentation, followed by a few minutes of Q/A and a buffer on either side for technical switches and setup. Presenters are generally approached by interested audience members afterwards for deeper 1:1 discussions.

How many times can I present?

This will depend on how long you will be at COP (from a few days up to the full two weeks) and how many organizations request slots. Initially, we ask that you limit it to 3 or 4, but let us know if you’d like to do more and we will try to accommodate additional slots after most organizations are scheduled and we have a better sense of what is available.  We will likely have greater flexibility in the second week.

Who will be presenting at the Portal?

Google would like to make the Portal available to showcase our partners projects, the French Ministry, other delegations, key conference events, presentations, & live streams, as well as highlighting some of Google’s work related to climate, sustainability, and environmental issues. The Portal also has an unmanned “kiosk mode” displaying a series of interactive applications based on Google Earth, various Google Street View special collects, and Timelapse an immersive visualization of how the world has changed over the last 30 years.

From a technical perspective, what file formats can I show on the Portal?

The Portal was developed on top of the web browser Google Chrome, so any content that can be shown in a browser such as a standard web page or YouTube video, can be displayed on the Portal. There will be at a podium with a keyboard and mouse that will allow you to drive the display and show interactive content or walk people through a website. Powerpoint or Keynote files will need to be converted to a web friendly format such as Adobe Acrobat, Google Slides, or HTML hosted files. You will provide the URL of the webpage or presentation ahead of time so that it can be quickly brought up. Cloud services such as Google Drive or Dropbox allow links to PDFs or movies if they are shared publically.

Who will be there to help me with technical issues and getting set up?

The booth will be manned at all operating times with someone to help with audio and the presentation materials as well as allowing you to test or view your content on the Portal in the down time.

How do I schedule / sign up for a time slot to present?

Presentation slots for the Portal will be scheduled through an online spreadsheet where you propose times which will then be confirmed by a Google organizer. There are two tabs that you need to fill out.

  • Presenters tab. Everyone that will be presenting needs to fill out a row listing the project title, organization, presenters, a description, etc. This information will be used when posting the schedule of events (green columns) as well as the logistical details we need to test and run your presentation (grey columns).  We’ve pre-populated as much information as we could, but please go in and revise your row as you see fit.

  • Schedule tab. Place your Project title and presenter name in one of the grey columns that you’d like to present. As additional requests and events come in, we will slot from there to the confirmed green column. If you have general flexibility for your time, please insert a comment to notify us

  • Googler’s schedules. If you have been working with a specific Googler on your project, please coordinate with them if you’d like to jointly present. For those hoping to present alongside Rebecca Moore, we’ve added a column in the spreadsheet with her available times in green and will continue to update

  • Access / Permissions. Most of you have already been granted modification rights to the spreadsheet, if you only have view access, you can “request edit access” in the top left of the window. Please add a little note saying which organization you are with and what you’d like to present or livestream and we will then grant access.

Please direct scheduling and additional questions to whomever sent you this message as well as cc’ing

This document will be updated with common questions or if details shift due to the current events in Paris.


The Google Team at COP 21