Blog

04.06.2011

Satellite Imagery and Humanitarian Efforts

By: Stephen Wood, Vice President, DigitalGlobe’s Analysis Center


Read Time: 2 minutes
Last week, Steve Lohr wrote a piece in the New York Times titled “Online Mapping Shows Potential to Transform Relief Efforts” about the powerful role satellite imagery plays in humanitarian efforts. I found this article to be particularly insightful and relevant, as recent events have demonstrated how satellite imagery is playing an integral role in assisting and enabling humanitarian efforts on a massive scale. Here at DigitalGlobe, we know first-hand the incredible impact that satellites have in the aftermath of a natural disaster. In many instances, like during the recent tragedy in Japan, satellite images are the only way to immediately see what’s happening on the ground. Over the past decade, DigitalGlobe’s high resolution imagery and analysis have supported efforts in evacuation planning, monitoring, disaster response, recovery and rebuilding in many regions from Iraq to Indonesia to New Orleans, where immediate response and on-the-ground assessments were difficult, at best. Our near real-time monitoring capabilities have helped governments, rescue workers and the international community to understand and manage grave political situations and natural disasters. Our recent projects include partnering with the Enough Project, UNOSAT and George Clooney to detect and hopefully deter war crimes and genocide in Sudan following its independence vote with the Satellite Sentinel Project, assessing initial damage following Japan’s earthquake and tsunami and shedding light on Middle East protests by revealing the scale and magnitude of expanding protest movements in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and Egypt. And we aren’t only engaged in times of crisis. Satellite mapping and imaging play an important role in preserving important historical sites, conserving natural resources and helping governments in developing countries create food and water sustainability. Just recently, DigitalGlobe delivered high resolution satellite imagery of significant heritage sites for the Global Heritage Network, an early warning monitoring system for endangered cultural sites. In addition, we are currently monitoring 16 glaciers for Extreme Ice Survey and we have been working with the Jane Goodall Institute for several years, providing QuickBird satellite imagery of areas in Tanzania, Uganda and Congo in order to make effective conservation decisions. As a company, contributing to humanitarian efforts is a priority for us and we continue to develop new technology every day and forge new partnerships that will allow us to expand our efforts. The views expressed in this posting are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of DigitalGlobe. Back to Blog

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