Remote sensing technology, satellite imagery and drone data, investigations using public data and videos, have all seen a massive rise in popularity over the last decade. With hundreds of satellites circling the Earth, the insights from data can be invaluable for the work of peacebuilding and prevention practitioners, and for human rights and humanitarian communities, especially in situations of restricted access to a conflict zone. In the last decade, satellite images have been used to confirm the existence of forced labor camps in North Korea, mass graves in Burundi, human rights abuse in Darfur, and more recent documenting the detention camps in Xinjiang, rapid construction of migrant “tent jails” for families and children at the US-Mexico border, and the destruction of refugee camps in Ethiopia.
Today, not only governments, but also international human rights organizations, civil society and individuals have an abundance of observation data available to use. Although an immense opportunity, this abundance can be a burden to go through and process in a timely manner. Hence, we are asking the following questions:
1. If and how are new advanced approaches such as deep learning and neural networks helping a human eye tell the difference between smoke plumes and clouds, or distinguish natural fires from burned villages?
2. What is the potential in combining high-quality satellite imagery, deep learning, and other recent advances in computer science that have transformed how we extract information from images?
Join our guests to hear their views on these and other questions. We will hear how their organizations apply remote sensing in their work, how this field changed in the previous decade, and what is the potential for a positive impact in the future.