Geospatial Technologies Project

The Geospatial Technologies Project, an initiative of the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), uses geographic technologies such as remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and volunteered geographic information (VGI) to advance research and documentation capabilities across the fields of human rights, humanitarian response, cultural heritage, environmental justice, and human security. This research is conducted in collaboration with others, including human rights and other non-governmental organizations and international courts and commissions. In both research and practice, the Project is committed to the responsible use of geographic technologies.

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.

The Geospatial Technologies Project 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.

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.