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Cosmopolis – a unique immersive urban environment – opens its doors to visitors

“Hello, my name is Doctor Isla Campbell, and I will be your guide. Here in Cosmopolis we will explore the city and the avenues of satellite Earth Observation together. I am here to answer your questions about how Earth Observation is used in urban environments. You can ask me anything in your own words. I will help you learn more about what is possible and what has already been achieved. I look forward to being your guide.”

The European Space Agency’s Global Development Assistance programme (GDA) is a global partnership to mainstream the use of Earth Observation into development operations. GDA supports the European Earth Observation (EO) industry to develop products that use EO data to solve a wide range of sustainable development challenges. In partnership with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, the best technology from European industry is developed for adoption into development operations, and designed to be used by national government agencies all over the world that are being supported and advised by development economists and policy experts within the IFIs.

Caribou Space believes that a major issue to the adoption of satellite Earth Observation by some parts of the sustainable development sector lies in the scientific and technical complexity of the products and the varying levels of awareness of the unique capabilities offered by these technologies. All too often we have seen that the use of these products and tools is limited to a small segment of practitioners who have acquired skills, knowledge or experience to use these technologies, while others are unaware of the potential uses for the data and the possible resulting benefits.

Caribou Space have begun to explore the potential for dynamic storytelling to address this issue – whereby content is tailored and unique to each audience member to reduce the barrier of technical & scientific complexity. This allows the benefits of satellite Earth Observation to be communicated to audiences with varying roles, objectives and EO expertise, with clarity and precision.

Cosmopolis is a virtual world where users can explore and inquire about EO through conversations with a virtual satellite EO guide, Dr Isla Campbell, and representatives of the government of Cosmopolis. Visitors to the city can ask questions in their own words and can receive answers to their questions in non-technical language with case study examples from GDA Urban Sustainability activities.           

Cosmopolis has been built as a proof of concept/Minimum Viable Product, and has known issues in user experience and performance, that are being carried forward as improvements for future versions. Constructive feedback is welcome, please contact: David (at) cariboudigital (dot) net. 

Hardware Requirements:

  • Computer: Any desktop or laptop used for day-to-day work tasks is sufficient. Cosmopolis is not built and tested for mobile/tablet.
  • Internet: It requires a stable, internet connection above 10 Mpbs. Mobile tethering doesn’t work well.


  • Loading: A black screen and white animation will take up to one minute.
  • Audio: When the city is visible click the muted speaker symbol in the bottom right to activate the sound.
  • Navigating: Use the AWSD keys to walk around, and mouse or trackpad to look around. When you are near a character a direction indicator in the top right will appear.
  • Talking to Citizens: Stand near a citizen, and whilst looking at them, press Enter, and type any question you want.
  • Exiting: Press Escape to exit.

Follow this link to play: