Geoinformatik / GIS


EO-based services to support humanitarian operations: monitoring population and natural resources in refugee/IDP camps

EO4HumEn+ is a research project of Z_GIS, DLR, the Austrian Red Cross, Spatial Services GmbH, the Department of Geography of the University of Tuebingen and Groundwater Relief as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross, MSF Section Austria and SOS Children's Villages as associated partners.

The aim is to develop and demonstrate innovative applications for satellite image interpretation and GIS to meet the diverse information needs of the humanitarian community. In particular, we develop methods to monitor the population dynamics in urban settlements during crisis situations, improve the analysis capabilities of the large amounts of freely available Earth Observation data by implementing partly automated routines, and explore the satellite-based suport of groundwater management practices.

The project is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG.

Our work

Our task within this research project is the acquisition, preparation and analysis of radar images, also called SAR data. They are independent from atmospheric conditions (such as clouds), daylight and show the earth's surface characteristics. They therefore provide great potential for humanitarian use.The picture below shows a comparison of images from WorldView-3 and TerraSAR-X for a part of the refugee camp Dagahaley, Kenya. While information below cloud cover is lost in optical images, SAR satellites operate at higher wavelenghs which less affected by atmospheric disturbances.