Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining

La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining

La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
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Lacroix P.,University of Geneva | Herzog J.,United Nations Mine Action Service | Eriksson D.,Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining | Weibel R.,University of Zürich
Applied Geography | Year: 2013

This study aimed to answer the question how cartography can help decision makers visualize the problem of contamination by explosive remnants of war (ERW). We thus explored a set of six cartographic visualization methods and systematically evaluated their usefulness with respect to four categories of stakeholders in the humanitarian demining process (i.e., database administrators, operations officers, directors of national mine action authorities, and donors) at four geographical scales, ranging from municipal to global. The main application of our work is for stakeholders involved in humanitarian demining. We provide them with a comprehensive framework for visualizing ERW hazards at the geographical scale at which they have to make decisions, as well as customized cartographic visualization tools and recommendations to help them make informed decisions. For example, we provide potential donors with a method for obtaining a global overview of ERW contamination while remaining aware of regional variation and hot spots. We also enhance cartographic visualization capabilities using traditional kernel density estimation by customizing key parameters. Specifically, we propose a method for adjusting kernel bandwidth for datasets with highly heterogeneous spatial distributions and a method for generating kernel surfaces from polygon data that consists of infilling the polygons with points before using them as inputs in the kernel density estimation. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Lacroix P.,University of Geneva | De Roulet P.,Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining | Ray N.,Institute for Environmental science
International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research | Year: 2014

This paper presents START (Simplified Toolbar to Accelerate Repeated Tasks), a new, freely downloadable ArcGIS extension designed for non-expert GIS users. START was developed jointly by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) and the University of Geneva to support frequent workflows relating to mine action. START brings together a series of basic ArcGIS tools in one toolbar and provides new geoprocessing, geometry and database management functions. The toolbar operates as a bridge between non-spatial repositories (e.g. MySQL and Excel) and GIS. It also connects mine action professionals recording data in the field to GIS experts and improves data interoperability between GIS professionals working in different disciplines. Originally created to help humanitarian demining actors optimize GIS workflows and be more efficient in their everyday work, the toolbar might also benefit scientists operating in other fields. Copyright © 2014, IGI Global.


De Santis A.,Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining | Hofmann U.,Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining
Proceedings of the 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference: Integrative Risk Management - The Role of Science, Technology and Practice, IDRC Davos 2014 | Year: 2014

Contamination from remnants of conflict is a legacy of many armed conflicts, threatening human security and impeding post-conflict reconstruction and development. Buried explosive devices can also negatively affect the environment directly, such as through contamination of soil, and indirectly, by denying access to land and other natural resources, which, in turn, results in increased pressure on available resources and unsustainable natural resource management practices. One of the core objectives of mine action is the safe removal and destruction of the remnants of conflict in order to make land safe and accessible, thereby contributing to sustainable development. However, the methods used by mine action organisations can, under certain conditions, represent a risk to the environment, potentially leading to degradation of land through soil degradation, erosion, deforestation and chemical pollution. Mine action organisations, like all humanitarian actors, therefore need to consider the possible negative impacts of their mine clearance operations to ensure they do no harm, do not lead to longer-term vulnerability or threaten livelihoods and food security and, by mitigating environmental damage, effectively contribute to disaster risk reduction. The combined use of remotely sensed data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be a sound solution to assess pre-contamination conditions and to monitor both the environmental impact and the effects of mitigation activities.


Kruijff M.,European Space Agency | Eriksson D.,Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining | Bouvet T.,European Space Agency | Griffiths A.,Swiss Foundation for Mine Action FSD | And 5 more authors.
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2013

Populations emerging from armed conflicts often remain threatened by landmines and explosive remnants of war. The international mine action community is concerned with the relief of this threat. The Space Assets for Demining Assistance (SADA) undertaking is a set of activities that aim at developing new services to improve the socio-economic impact of mine action activities, primarily focused on the release of land thought to be contaminated, a process described as land release. SADA was originally initiated by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). It has been implemented under the Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) program of the European Space Agency (ESA). Land release in mine action is the process whereby the demining community identifies, surveys and prioritizes suspected hazardous areas for more detailed investigation, which eventually results in the clearance of landmines and other explosives, thereby releasing land to the local population. SADA has a broad scope, covering activities, such as planning (risk and impact analysis, prioritization, and resource management), field operations and reporting. SADA services are developed in two phases: feasibility studies followed by demonstration projects. Three parallel feasibility studies have been performed. They aimed at defining an integrated set of space enabled services to support the land release process in mine action, and at analyzing their added value, viability and sustainability. The needs of the mine action sector have been assessed and the potential contribution of space assets has been identified. Support services have been formulated. To test their fieldability, proofs of concept involving mine action end users in various operational field settings have been performed by each of the study teams. The economic viability has also been assessed. Whenever relevant and cost-effective, SADA aims at integrating Earth observation data, GNSS navigation and SatCom technologies with existing mine action tools and procedures, as well as with novel aerial survey technologies. Such conformity with existing user processes, as well as available budgets and appropriateness of technology based solutions given the field level operational setting are important conditions for success. The studies have demonstrated that Earth observation data, satellite navigation solutions and in some cases, satellite communication, indeed can provide added value to mine action activities if properly tailored based on close user interaction and provided through a suitable channel. Such added value for example includes easy and sustained access to Earth observation data for general purpose mapping, land use assessment for post-release progress reporting, and multi-source data fusion algorithms to help quantify risks and socio-economic impact for prioritization and planning purposes. The environment and boundaries of a hazardous area can also be better specified to support the land release process including detailed survey and clearance operations. Satellite communication can help to provide relevant data to remote locations, but is not regarded as strongly user driven. Finally, satellite navigation can support more precise non-technical surveys, as well as aerial observation with small planes or hand-launched UAV's. To ensure the activity is genuinely user driven, the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) plays an important role as ESA's external advisor. ESA is furthermore supported by a representative field operator, the Swiss Foundation of Mine Action (FSD), providing ESA with a direct connection to the field level end users. Specifically FSD has provided a shared user needs baseline to the three study teams. To ensure solutions meet with end user requirements, the study teams themselves include mine action representatives and have interacted closely with their pre-existing and newly established contacts within the mine action community. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Ubukawa T.,Geospatial Information Authority of Japan | De Sherbinin A.,Columbia University | Onsrud H.,University of Maine, United States | Nelson A.,International Rice Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Data Science Journal | Year: 2014

There is a clear need for a public domain data set of road networks with high special accuracy and global coverage for a range of applications. The Global Roads Open Access Data Set (gROADS), version 1, is a first step in that direction. gROADS relies on data from a wide range of sources and was developed using a range of methods. Traditionally, map development was highly centralized and controlled by government agencies due to the high cost or required expertise and technology. In the past decade, however, high resolution satellite imagery and global positioning system (GPS) technologies have come into wide use, and there has been significant innovation in web services, such that a number of new methods to develop geospatial information have emerged, including automated and semi-automated road extraction from satellite/aerial imagery and crowdsourcing. In this paper we review the data sources, methods, and pros and cons of a range of road data development methods: heads-up digitizing, automated/semi-automated extraction from remote sensing imagery, GPS technology, crowdsourcing, and compiling existing data sets. We also consider the implications for each method in the production of open data.


Kruijff M.,Serco | Eriksson D.,Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining | Bouvet T.,European Space Agency | Griffiths A.,Swiss Foundation for Mine Action FSD | And 5 more authors.
62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, IAC 2011 | Year: 2011

Populations emerging from armed conflicts often remain threatened by landmines and Explosive Remnants of War. The international Mine Action community is concerned with the relief of this threat. The Space Assets for Demining Assistance (SADA) undertaking is a set of projects that aims at developing new services to improve the socio-economic impact of mine action activities, primarily focused on the release of land thought to be contaminated, a process described as Land Release. SADA was originally initiated by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). It is now being implemented under the Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) programme of the European Space Agency (ESA). Land Release in Mine Action is the process whereby the demining community identifies, surveys and prioritizes suspected hazardous areas for more detailed investigation, which eventually results in the clearance of landmines and other explosives, thereby releasing land to the local population. SADA has a broad scope, covering activities such as planning (risk and impact analysis, prioritization, resource management), field operations and reporting. SADA services are developed in two phases: feasibility studies followed by demonstration projects. Three parallel feasibility studies are currently ongoing. They aim at defining an integrated set of space enabled services to support the Land Release process in Mine Action, and at analysing their added value, viability and sustainability. The needs of the Mine Action sector have been assessed and the potential contribution of space assets has been identified. Support services are now being designed. To test their fieldability, proofs of concept involving mine action end users in various operational field settings are also under preparation by each of the study team. The economic viability will then be assessed. Whenever relevant and cost effective, SADA aims at integrating Earth Observation data, GNSS navigation and SatCom technologies with existing Mine Action tools and procedures, as well as with novel aerial survey technologies. Such conformity with existing user processes, as well as available budgets and appropriateness of technology based solutions given the field level operational setting are important conditions for success. The studies have already demonstrated that Earth Observation data, Satellite Communication and Navigation indeed provide added value in Mine Action activities. Such added value for example includes the benefits of easy and sustained access to Earth Observation data that can satisfy the ubiquitous needs for general purpose mapping, as well as the value of data fusion algorithms which can be applied to relevant datasets to quantify risks and socio-economic impact for prioritization and planning purposes in order to justify land release. The environment of a hazardous area can also be characterized to support the land release process including detailed survey and clearance. Satellite Communication can help to provide relevant data to remote locations and in some cases can help to integrate field data and reporting with national or international databases. Finally, Satellite Navigation can support more precise non-technical surveys as well as aerial observation with small planes or hand-launched UAV's. To ensure the activity is genuinely user driven, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) plays an important role as ESA's external advisor. ESA is furthermore supported by a representative field operator, the Swiss Foundation of Mine Action (FSD), providing ESA with a direct connection to the field level end users. Specifically FSD has provided a shared user needs baseline to the three study teams. To ensure solutions meet with end user requirements, the study teams themselves include Mine Action representatives and interact closely with their pre-existing and newly established contacts within the Mine Action community.


PubMed | Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Catholic University of Leuven, European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra, Asian Institute of Technology and 11 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.) | Year: 2016

Over the past 15 years, scientists and disaster responders have increasingly used satellite-based Earth observations for global rapid assessment of disaster situations. We review global trends in satellite rapid response and emergency mapping from 2000 to 2014, analyzing more than 1000 incidents in which satellite monitoring was used for assessing major disaster situations. We provide a synthesis of spatial patterns and temporal trends in global satellite emergency mapping efforts and show that satellite-based emergency mapping is most intensively deployed in Asia and Europe and follows well the geographic, physical, and temporal distributions of global natural disasters. We present an outlook on the future use of Earth observation technology for disaster response and mitigation by putting past and current developments into context and perspective.

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