Tag Archives: Satellite Imagery

Big Earth Data Documentary

Recently I ran into this wonderful documentary about how scientists are handling the huge amounts of remote sensing and earth science data being collected in the current age.

The documentary spends a lot of time talking about how remote sensing is used for oceanography and marine security monitoring, looking at concerns like monster waves, oil spills, surface ice content, ship routing through polar oceans, etc.

The EarthServer project is mentioned, which establishes “big earth data analytics, rapid ad-hoc processing and filtering on massive geodata.” Satellite images are shown to be useful also for automatic counting of houses or camps, and for disaster damage assessment. The use of GRACE satellite system for Earth gravimetry and water content measurement is mentioned.

For background information regarding the documentary, go here.



The Nepal Earthquake – What We Can Do As Remote Sensing & Mapping Experts

The devastating earthquake that recently hit Nepal has personal relevance to me as I have been to Kathmandu twice and it is horrifying to see distinct places of the city reduced to utter rubble. Furthermore, I have a close friend and many professional contacts in Nepal, who spent their nights out in the open. We hope to see Kathmandu and Nepal rebuild and rise up again soon.

As relief efforts are in full swing on the ground, here are some significant volunteer contributions we can make as remote sensing and mapping experts. If you know of any further resources or near-real-time applications for such skills, please mention in the comments.


OpenStreetMap (OSM) and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap (HOTOSM) are leading an effort to identify and map the earthquake damages. They have divided the enormous task into several sub-tasks, explained clearly on the webpage. Furthermore, HOTOSM have formally requested that anyone with FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) experience in automatic image classification and feature extraction should contact on HOTOSM email directly. Links below:



DigitalGlobe (the company that owns QuickBird, GeoEye, and WorldView series of satellites) has its own crowd-sourcing image analysis platform that is activated in cases of disasters. You can identify and map damaged locations and building using this platform which uses DigitalGlobe’s imagery:


Digital Globe Imagery:

DigitalGlobe has made available imagery regarding the Nepal earthquake publicly for analysis. Get the imagery here:

Username: nepal
Password: forcrisis​