Earth observation and GIS to support humanitarian operations in refugee/IDP camps

Petra Füreder, Stefan Lang, Michael Hagenlocher, Dirk Tiede, Lorenz Wendt, Edith Rogenhofer


Critical information on refugee/internally displaced people (IDP) camps can be provided to humanitarian organisations to support planning of emergency response and relief using multi-temporal and multi-scale information from satellite imagery and GIS data. Since 2011 we are providing Earth observation-based information services to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on demand. A service on population monitoring has already reached an operational stage. Thereby indicators on population are derived by automated dwelling extraction from (multi-temporal) very high resolution (VHR) satellite imagery. Based on such information, further added-value products are provided to analyse internal camp structure or camp evolution. Two additional services to support groundwater extraction and assess the impact of the camps on the environment are currently under development. So far twenty-five sites in nine countries have been analysed and more than a hundred maps were provided to MSF and other humanitarian organisations.

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