The New Geography at Work: Safeguarding Human Rights With Image Analysis

Location of Sudan and South Sudan Communities. Image by Google

Location of Sudan and South Sudan Communities. Image by Google

The ‘new geography’ seems to be making news as it helps to document human rights violations, but how many are taking notice? In the past the answer could easily have been only a few.

I certainly remember reluctant discussions with students in my geography classes who were refugees from Rwanda and Bosnia: They personally related horror stories to me that none of their classmates had been or should have been privy to, and to which the world community was turning a blind eye.

New Geography: The World is Watching

But now the answer is that crowds are watching; groups such as the Enough Project are actively watching; and they’re not just watchers, they’re advocates.

Digital Tools at Work

Clues to Unwarranted Attacks. Image by DigitalGlobe

Satellite maps offer clues to unwarranted attacks. Image by DigitalGlobe

As reported by Susan Spano in the LA Times, the new geography, with digitized data and analysis in its toolbox, is helping to solve one of the world’s most pressing and mystifying problems, the preservation of human rights and the documentation of crimes against humanity.

The Washington DC based Enough Project, with its mission to end genocide, initiated the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), conceived by George Clooney and John Prendergast in 2010: It provides early warnings of mass atrocities using DigitalGlobe satellite imagery in regions such as along the Sudan, South Sudan border. This is a place that used to be able to hide from the world.

Click to Read Page Two: What are Image Analysts Looking For?

© Copyright 2013 James Gibson, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science
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