Migration Mapping and Monitoring with Satellite Imagery

It appears we cannot go a day without the word ‘migration’ being in the news. With global conflict and natural disasters, migration is a large-scale process describing the movement of people often from areas of hostility and devastation to areas of safety and stability.

The world has been captured by the movement of over 3 million refugees into Europe from Syria alone, showing the huge scale of human displacement from the Middle-East. The majority of these movements can occur undetected and unmonitored because of the large areas over which they occur over. Authorities in Europe are installing fences to prevent migration into their country and across the borders, but this is simply not enough. Monitoring mass migration requires a different approach: satellite imagery.

Satellite imagery provides an efficient and effective way for migration to analysed across extensive areas. Large refugee camps can be mapped and monitored so that changes over time can be identified, to observe the growth and decline of refugee numbers. This is vital information for humanitarian organisations as they can identify the areas which need their increasing support through this unstable time. Additionally, refugee camps often lack an information structure, such as numbers of inhabitants, and satellite imagery can help to understand the extent of each camp more efficiently than field research would permit.

Mapping refugee camps is essential, to ensure that humanitarian relief is adequate and well-coordinated to support the number of the displaced persons at the area in question. Organisations such as the UN can make use of this information, to ensure those affected have access to water, sanitation and food, critical components for their everyday lives. The use of satellite imagery within this field is substantial but will amplify in the future. With more and more low-cost satellites being deployed, imagery will proliferate, increasing its availability and allow enhanced multi-temporal monitoring of situations such as these.

For further information please visit Via Satellite.

Image Credit: IB Times.


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