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Using Time-Lapse Satellite Imagery To Detect Infrastructure Changes: Case-Studies via Myanmar, Nigeria and the South China Sea

By Benjamin Strick

Identifying changes in infrastructure is an important task for those of us surveilling areas for investigative purposes.

Satellite imagery can show evidence of everything from the destruction of buildings, the erection of temporary structures, as well as newly constructed permanent facilities.

This kind of information is important for analysis of events in conflict areas, as these areas often cannot be reached by unbiased observers. Satellite imagery can therefore tell a truer/more complete account of what occurred in a specific conflict area.

By being able to view changes taking place in a specific area, we can utilize free open-source tools which create what is effectively a time-lapse of the Earth’s surface.

Using imagery from the Copernicus Sentinel or NASA Landsat programs, which vary in their daily updates, a timeline of chronological satellite imagery can be compiled, contextualized, and compared to observe and analyze changes taking place below.

Those changes, which can be either disastrous or merely eventful, are helpful in telling the facts of what is happening in a particular area. The best part is that tools that can be used to view those changes can be used by anyone.

Using Satellite Time-Lapse Imagery to Identify Infrastructure Changes in Myanmar

To identify clear signs of the razing of villages and development of new infrastructure, researchers are able to build a time-lapse of satellite imagery using Sentinel Hub’s freely available EO browser.

In Myanmar’s Rakhine State, for example, there have been reports of a mass genocide of the Rohingya. Below is a view of an area through Sentinel Hub that experienced significant change between 2017 and 2018 via Copernicus’ Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.

After creating a free account with Sentinel Hub, the function for time-lapse creation becomes available.

To achieve an effective result for your satellite time-lapse, and to observe change during a set period, select …read more

From:: Bellingcat

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