Case Studies

High-definition imagery helps create detailed maps of refugee camps

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High-definition imagery helps create detailed maps of refugee camps Millions of refugees and internally displaced people (IDP) in Syria are affected by a growing, catastrophic humanitarian crisis: the scarcity of necessities like food, water, shelter and clothing while living in dense camps. Maxar's current, high-definition (HD) satellite imagery of refugee and IDP camps combined with Maxar reseller Land Info Worldwide Mapping (Land Info)'s geospatial production supported the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) in creating accurate population numbers to use for planning and managing efficient relief operations. Entering its 10th year, the Syrian civil war has created the largest IDP population in the world—about 6.2 million people, according to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the U.N. Refugee Agency. Without knowing the rapidly changing number, size or distribution of temporary shelters, it is difficult for relief operations to estimate camp populations and welfare, so they cannot optimally plan staffing, supply lines, infrastructure and safety efforts or analyze capacity for additional displaced persons. On-the-ground surveys of settlements can be labor-intensive, time-consuming, costly and dangerous, as camps are in or close to conflict zones. In 2020, COVID-19 became an additional challenge for field surveys. Land Info typically employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to extract features such as buildings, trees and land use/land cover, but that technology does not yet reliably work on small temporary shelters because of their shape, size, density and spectral characteristics. UNOSAT needed highly accurate data on a fast timeline, so Land Info leveraged Maxar's HD imagery to further improve the visual clarity of the native satellite imagery and enable more accurate manual feature identification. Land Info was able to map and determine the current number, size and distribution of tents and temporary shelters at multiple IDP camps in Syria. Creating accurate population estimates of refugee camps for humanitarian assistance HD IMAGERY FOR HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE Land Info has been a Maxar partner since the 1999 launch of IKONOS, the world's first commercial high-resolution optical imaging satellite. The company is a pioneer in the use of object-based image analysis and other automated technologies to extract detailed information from imagery. "We were excited to be an early user of Maxar's new high-definition imagery on this project, which allowed us to better map small features, including individual tents and temporary structures.". — Nick Hubing President/Land Info Worldwide Mapping case study Land Info manually extracted temporary shelters (green outlines) and more permanent structures (red boxes) from Maxar's satellite imagery in this IDP camp in Syria.

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