Humanitarian operations to protect people are often required during emergencies or complex disasters. Such humanitarian emergencies can be the consequences of natural disasters, armed conflicts, epidemics or political crisis. People who have no capacity to cope with their situation must obtain humanitarian assistance. Earth Observation data such as satellite imagery or derived geospatial information can serve as independent and objective information source in order to assess crisis situations, support the planning of humanitarian operations and with it even might alleviate the effects of a crisis.
Key application areas of our team are:
Different remote sensing methods are used in the team to derive Earth Observation based crisis information. These vary from visual image interpretation to fully automated processing chains. Methodological research focuses on the development of algorithms for automatic and semi-automatic image analysis and information extraction. Mainly, pixel- and object-based classification algorithms, change detection methods as well as visualization techniques for supporting decision making in crisis management are assessed and developed.
The satellite-based support of humanitarian relief comprises not only analyzing data but also to a large extent the permanent dialogue with experts from the humanitarian sector. Possibilities and limits of Earth Observation based information as well as the state of the art are regularly discussed and demonstrated in workshops and trainings.