Current Projects

Developing Ethical Guidelines and Best Practices for the Use of Volunteered Geographic Information and Remotely Sensed Imagery in Crisis Situations

The AAAS Geospatial Technologies Project has been awarded a 18-month grant of $229,952 from the US National Science Foundation (NSF Award No. 1560948). This project will develop ethical principles and guidelines, as well as draft best practices for the use of remote sensing and volunteered geographic information (VGI) in crisis situations.
Two key research questions explored by this study include:

  1. What standards are needed for the collection, analysis, use and dissemination of geolocated data during crisis situations? Operating without standards endangers the safety and security of people on the ground and complicates efforts to identify appropriate policy and interventions to protect and assist populations.
  2. What are the best means for engaging a diverse set of geographers and users in developing and disseminating those standards - ethical principles and guidelines and best practices - so they are accepted and implemented in studies that use geolocated data in crisis situations?

These and other questions will be addressed through a series of invitational workshops and solicitations of feedback from stakeholder communities. Participants will be drawn from the international academic, humanitarian, cultural heritage, crisis mapping, disaster, and human rights communities.

IMAGE: Innovative Methods for Applied Geospatial Evidence

The AAAS Geospatial Technologies Project has been awarded a two-year grant of $400,010 from the Oak Foundation. The project has two main objectives:

  1. To strengthen the scientific foundation of human rights-based geospatial analysis through advanced research projects, aimed at enhancing the toolkits available to practitioners; and
  2. To advance the use of geospatial technologies in international human rights and criminal litigation through partnership and collaboration with international courts and commissions, as well as through and several related research and documentation activities.


Past Projects:

Developing a Research Community and Capacity for the Study of Cultural Heritage in Conflict

The AAAS Geospatial Technologies Project has been awarded a two-year grant of $199,897 from the US National Science Foundation (NSF). In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania and the Smithsonian Institution, the project will form a research community to develop common definitions and coding standards that will enable the future development of large-scale datasets documenting and quantifying the destruction of cultural heritage.

Remote Sensing for Human Rights Project

The AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program has been awarded a grant of $800,000 by the Oak Foundation, based in London. The two-year grant will support the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project to:

  1. Determine the human rights-related applications of new high resolution and technically advanced satellite technologies, as well as underutilized lower resolution sensors; and
  2. Increase understanding among human rights courts and human rights organizations regarding the evolving and potential applications of geospatial technologies and associated research methodologies in human rights litigation.
Hostile Territory: Revealing Trends in Cross-Border Conflict Using Satellite Imagery

The AAAS Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project has been awarded an 18-month 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.