Hostile Territory: Revealing Trends in Cross-Border Conflict Using Satellite Imagery

The AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program has been awarded a grant of $119,474 from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to analyze cross-border conflicts using satellite imagery and to identify trends for the future use of this technology as a means of conflict early-warning prediction and prevention.

Earth-observation satellite imagery is a potential resource for understanding border conflicts and serving as an effective conflict prevention tool. AAAS will apply its USIP funds to examine cross-border conflicts using satellite imagery, identify elements of conflict that can be verified through remote sensing, and identify trends for future use of satellite imagery as a tool for early-warning and other conflict prevention efforts.

This six cross-border conflicts to be examined are:

  • Sudan-South Sudan
  • Djibouti-Eritrea
  • India-Pakistan
  • Cambodia-Thailand
  • Georgia-Russia
  • Armenia-Azerbaijan
  • Ukraine-Russia

This project will have three major products:

  • a Border Conflict Case Study Report will outline the results of the project’s case study analysis;
  • a Border Conflict Analysis Handbook will provide information to a lay audience regarding the possibilities provided by the technology for understanding border conflict; and
  • a Border Conflict Analysis Module will be a technical document identifying best practices in the interpretation of high-resolution satellite imagery for border conflicts and link to instructional videos.

Project Staff

Susan Wolfinbarger
Project Director
Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project

Jonathan Drake
Senior Program Associate
Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project

Eric Ashcroft
Senior Project Coordinator
Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project