Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights

The AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program, with current funding from the Oak Foundation and the United States Institute of Peace, works to expand the applications of geospatial technologies to human rights issues through its Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project.

Geospatial technologies include a range of modern tools, such as remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) that allow for mapping and analysis of multiple layers of georeferenced data.
Analysis of such data can provide critical information on:

  • the impact of remote, isolated conflicts on civilians
  • a host of human rights violations
  • environmental and social justice issues
  • indigenous rights

Geospatial technologies can broaden the ability of non-governmental organizations to rapidly gather, analyze, and disseminate authoritative information, especially during times of crisis. They can also provide compelling, visual proof to corroborate on-the-ground reporting of conflicts and natural disasters affecting human rights.

SRHRL partners with human rights organizations to provide technical assistance in using geospatial technologies to strengthen advocacy campaigns, support legal cases, and enhance response coordination and prevention efforts.

Fig3b
False-color imagery of waterways southwest of Bodo, Nigeria on 26 January 2009 display the effects of a major oil spill, with vegetation death concentrated primarily near the river and its tributaries. For more information, see our report.

Contact us to learn more or to submit a request for assistance for a potential human rights case study.