Grant Receipient Case Studies

DigitalGlobe Foundation grants are being used for many interesting and worthwhile projects around the globe. Since the DigitalGlobe Foundation was established, thousands-of-square-kilometers of imagery have been granted to universities in the United States and overseas. These imagery grants support research in a wide range of fields. The following list is a sampling of projects supported by the DigitalGlobe Foundation.

  • Disaster Response and Recovery
  • Archaeology
  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Studies
  • Fishery Management
  • Water and Natural Resource Management
  • Coastal Studies
  • Homeland Defense and Security
  • Urban Planning
  • Forestry

Case Study Examples

Below are a few case studies by researchers, scientists and geospatial experts regarding their use of geospatial imagery, the impact it's having on their studies and the unique solutions they've discovered.

SPOTTING EAST AFRICAN MAMMALS IN OPEN SAVANNAH FROM SPACE

Knowledge of population dynamics is essential for managing and conserving wildlife. Traditional methods of counting wild animals such as aerial survey or ground counts not only disturb animals, but also can be labor intensive and costly. New, commercially available very high-resolution satellite images offer great potential for accurate estimates of animal abundance over large open areas.



University of Twente
Researcher name: Z. Yang
Research location: Maasi Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Research subject: Environmental Studies

SHIFTING ATOLL SHORELINES REVEALED THROUGH REMOTE IMAGERY

Atoll islands are widely considered to be among the most vulnerable land-forms on earth with respects to the impacts of climate change. Of the suite of climate change impacts accelerating sea level rise is widely expected to destabilize island shorelines, leading to widespread erosion, threatening the long-term habitability of the islands. However, despite these concerns there have been few attempts to monitor the dynamic changes of atoll island shorelines.



University of Auckland
Researcher name: Murray R. Ford
Research location: Marshall Islands
Research subject: Coastal Studies

SEARCHING THE OMAN PENINSULA FOR ARCHAEOLOGICAL REMAINS

The focus of this project was to locate and document all archaeological surface remains in the district of Rustaq, and expanding to other areas of coastal Al-Batinah, a key area in Oman’s history. Collecting all of the data will allow the Ministry of Heritage and Culture to take the right steps in protecting this region. Using high resolution satellite imagery was imperative in collecting data of the areas and providing strategic fieldwork from above. The research has been highly successful, collecting a large number of artifacts, and discovering new archaeological sites for the first time.



Durham University
Researcher name: William Deadman
Research location: Oman
Research subject: GIS

DETAILED LAND USE/LAND COVER DETECTION IN SETTLEMENT GROWTH IN KENYA

Detailed land use/land cover map and change detection in settlement growth for Kapsoya Sub-Couonty, Eldoret, Kenya using satellite images from 2008 and 2012. Land use and land cover (LULC) change has become a central component in current strategies for managing and monitoring urban growth.This research examines the urban LULC changes that have taken place in Eldoret, Kenya for the past five years due to rapid urbanization.



University of Eldoret
Researcher name: Samuel E. Okalebo
Research location: Kenya
Research subject: Environmental Studies

COASTAL DYNAMICS STUDIES PREVENT COSTLY CONSEQUENCES OF COASTAL EROSION

Satellite imagery was used to examine the coastal retreat and thermal erosion over the Chuckhi Peninsula in Russia. Climate change and its direct effect on permafrost temperature and open water period expansion have severely accelerated the Arctic coast. The average shoreline retreat rate in the region is 0.57 meters per year. Moscow State University used high resolution imagery to examine the fluctuations, which will help avoid costly restorations as a consequence of coastal erosion.



Moscow State University
Researcher name: Anastasia Radosteva
Research location: Arctic Peninsula
Research subject: Coastal Studies

BURNED VILLAGES AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN DARFUR

Salem State University graduate student Tommy O'Connell used imagery provided by the DigitalGlobe Foundation to investigate human rights violations in Darfur, Sudan. As of May 2013 approximately 300,000 people have died since the most recent wave of violence started in 2003, and over 1.4 million people are homeless. While diplomacy and international politics play a role in holding governments responsible for human rights violations, remote sensing and satellite imagery also plays a very important role in verifying the violence.



Salem State University
Researcher name: Thomas O'Connell
Research location: Darfur
Research subject: Risk Management

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF RELOCATING INDIAN VILLAGES

The Gettysburg College research team and Environmental Studies professors use DigitalGlobe satellite imagery to analyze environmental cost and benefits of relocating communities in India. These communities have been voluntarily relocated to help protect the habitat of the Asian elephant and tiger within a local national park. The research team visited the site to validate the image classifications and to survey the community members about how the relocation has influenced resources.



Gettysburg College
Researcher name: Rutherford V. Platt
Research location: India
Research subject: Land Cover

EVALUATING WILDFIRE HAZARDS

The Environmental Studies Department at Gettysburg College have evaluated wildfire hazards that occurred in the Fourmile Canyon area of Colorado. This area experienced devastating wildfires in September, 2010. Imagery was used to evaluate the home ignition zone (HIZ) before and after the fires. The HIZ is the area that includes a structure and its surroundings and strongly influences the potential for ignition from a wildfire. The goal was to quantify and interpret the land cover, burned area, and topography in the HIZ of the Fourmile Canyon area.



Gettysburg College
Researcher name: Rutherford V. Platt
Research location: Colorado
Research subject: Risk Management

WATER WELLS FOR AFRICA

Water Wells for Africa and DigitalGlobe Analytics’ helping rural communities in Southern Africa find and distribute clean safe drinking water to those who have none. Access to clean water is imperative for human health and wellness. Yet, there are millions of people who are forced to collect water from drains, ditches, and streams to survive. In Africa, roughly one out of three people are not using a clean water source. Geospatial datasets were collected and analyzed then recommendations where made on suitable locations to drill for new water wells. This type of information ultimately saved future work and improved accuracy of locations services.



Water Wells For Africa
Research location: Africa
Research subject: Water & Natural Resource Management

CREATING THE VIRTUAL VALLEY OF GEYSERS

The Institute of Computing for Physics & Technology using satellite imagery to create a virtual model of Russia’s famous Valley of Geysers in the Kronotsky Reserve. One of Russia's most renowned tourist destinations, the valley is one of the largest geyser fields in the world and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of Russia, as well as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Realizing the popular demand of sharing this wonderful site, which normally receives an average attendance of over 3,000 people a year, the "virtual 3D geyser" hopes to bring the valley to more people around the world through the internet.



Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Researcher name: Andrey Leonov
Research location: Russia
Research subject: Land Cover

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