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Geospatial Technology Projects

A great many ad-hoc and more formal projects exist which are of interest to the geospatial technologies and human rights community. A sample of these are presented here, and AAAS welcomes suggestions for additions. Please send an email to with your project suggestions and include a link to the project and a brief description of its relevance to geospatial technologies and human rights. Note that projects are also often part of more formal Institutional Programs, and often the projects listed below are linked to their respective institutional homes.

Activist Map
This site maps activism around the world.

Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights
The AAAS Science and Human Rights Program, with funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the Oak Foundation, and the Open Society Institute, is working 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 satellite images, 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 (more)…

Global Incident Map
The Global Incident Map displays recent terrorist and other suspicious events with links to news articles.

HealthMap brings together disparate data sources to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health. This freely available Web site integrates outbreak data of varying reliability, ranging from news sources (such as Google News) to curated personal accounts (such as ProMED) to validated official alerts (such as World Health Organization). Through an automated text processing system, the data is aggregated by disease and displayed by location for user-friendly access to the original alert. HealthMap provides a jumping-off point for real-time information on emerging infectious diseases and (more)…

OASIS is a free information management tool for humanitarian actors working in the fields of security, shelter, camp coordination, mine action and more. OASIS, produced by iMMAP, provides a unique integration of GIS and simple information management elements. It was first deployed in Afghanistan and is now used in multiple countries across the globe.

IMN — Indigenous Remote Sensing Collaborative
The Indigenous Remote Sensing Collaborative (IRSC) is a new initiative, founded by Indigenous Mapping Network (IMN). The purpose of IRSC is to increase awareness of community remote sensing as a tool for serving the needs of indigenous peoples.  Community remote sensing can help indigenous peoples manage and preserve the resources of their local environment.  It also presents a means for indigenous peoples, with limited academic and financial resources, to contribute their local environmental knowledge as part of the formal scientific understanding of the Earth. IRSC will promote and document contributions of indigenous peoples in these two key areas.To do this, (more)…

ISFEREA — Enumeration of refugee camps (2003 – 2005)
The aim of the project was to develop an operational way to enumerate refugee populations hosted in temporary settlements. The information is often provided to donor organizations which use it to define the size of aid and development programmes better. The enumeration of people derived from satellite imagery is always indirect. It is based on the enumeration of dwellings from VHR imagery. Field surveys provide information on the average number of people per household in camps. The total number of dwellings is then combined with the average number of people per household for a total enumeration of settlements. The role (more)…

ISFEREA — Refugee and Internally Displaced Persons Camps
The JRC has started to use VHR imagery to locate and quantify people to support UN agencies decision making and sizing humanitarian aid. Satellite imagery is used to (1) to locate refugee and internally displaced people (figure 1). Typical criteria that need to be taken into consideration when setting refugee camps. Sufficiently distant from conflict country. Accessible (close to roads as well as airports) in areas that do not cause tensions with local population. Have access to water. Have access to resources such as fuel, wood. Furthermore, satellite imagery is used (2) to measure size of camps and if possible (more)…

ISFEREA — Scientific and technical support to the Kimberley process (diamond trade)
The Kimberley Process (KP) is a joint government, diamond industry and NGOs scheme to reduce trade in conflict diamonds. The Commission is responsible for ensuring optimal implementation of the certification scheme throughout the European Community (EC). The EC, represented by DG RELEX, assumed the chair of the KP in 2007, and holds the chair of the Working Group on Monitoring. We provide scientific and technical support to DG RELEX and the KP by monitoring illegal mining activities on the basis of satellite remote sensing. The KP also relies on trade statistics analysis communicated by its members. In collaboration with SITAFS, (more)…

OpenStreetMap — Kibera, Kenya
This site hosts an Open Street Map of the Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya. The community has worked to include roads, paths, churches, schools and hospitals that would otherwise be left out of traditional maps.

RWI Human Rights ThemeMaps

‘RWI Human Rights ThemeMaps’ is basically intended to visualize states’ formal commitment to international human rights standards. What is available here is a rough trial version with the core international human rights conventions, that is but the first step to a more comprehensive version with more conventions both global and regional, optional protocols, at least the existence of reservations, more details of the ratification process indicating formal commitment to international human rights law, changes over time in ratifications, themes, membership of various organizations, indicators, and more.

UNOSAT – Monitoring IDP camps in Yemen

As the international community steps up efforts to bring relief to people displaced by conflict in Yemen, UNOSAT has released a new IDP analysis report on the IDP camps in Sa?adah, Yemen. This analysis report is based on the most recent very high resolution satellite imagery available, acquired in October 2009. UNITAR/UNOSAT will provide updated analysis as new satellite imagery is acquired. The IDP shelter count was obtained from automated building extraction methods. This analytical report is part of the UNOSAT Humanitarian Rapid Mapping Service provided to the entire humanitarian community and it is free of charge. It can be (more)

UNOSAT – Supporting flood relief in West Africa

The current seasonal floods in West Africa are affecting over 350,000 people. With floods reported in Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Mali, Liberia and Guinea, the UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) supports sister agencies UNICEF and UNOCHA with satellite image derived analyses of the situation. Using satellite imagery from multiple dates, the evolution of flood conditions is monitored and the latest changes on the ground observed.

UNOSAT – The crisis in Gaza

UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) has produced a situation map for the current crisis in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Following rocket attacks by Hamas into Israel and Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip during the last week of December, the detailed overview map shows media-reported attack locations related to urban settlements, hospitals, mosques, UN offices and UNRWA-administered refugee camps. UNOSAT will update this map as the situation evolves over the coming days.

Ushahidi – Tracking the Eastern Congo Conflict

This site tracks the conflict in eastern Congo through crowd-sourced reports on riots, assaults, property damage, etc.

Ushahidi – Tracking xenophobic attacks in South Africa is for the collective good and is brought to you by a collaboration of a wide range of Africans living throughout this beautiful continent, Europe and America. An interactive portal for all African’s who witness xenophobic violence in Southern Africa or who have relevant information to share or learn. Here you can anonymously submit incidents and news and it will appear on a map-based view for others to see.

Ushahidi – War on Gaza

This map was published by Al Jazeera during the January 2009 Gaza War. It maps user-submitted reports of deaths, air strikes, rocket attacks and more.

USHMM – Crisis in Darfur

In partnership with Google Earth, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is releasing compelling new visual evidence of the destruction in Darfur. New information from the U.S. State Department identifies more than 3,300 Darfur villages as damaged or completely destroyed, twice the number that were confirmed when Crisis in Darfur launched in 2007. The data now include for most of the villages the exact year or a year range when they were destroyed. This confirms that over 2,000 villages were destroyed by 2005, marking the height of the conflict.

USHMM – Mapping the Holocaust

The Museum is using Google Earth to map key Holocaust sites with historic content from its collections, powerfully illustrating the enormous scope and impact of the Holocaust.

USHMM – World Is Witness

World is Witness, a project of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, bears witness to genocide and related crimes against humanity around the world. Our staff and guest contributors bring you updates from the field, eyewitness testimony, photographs, interactive maps and more.

World Freedom Atlas

The World Freedom Atlas is a geovisualization tool for world statistics. It was designed for social scientists, journalists, NGO/IGO workers, and others who wish to have a better understanding of issues of freedom, democracy, human rights, and good governance. It covers the years 1990 to 2006.

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