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.

WHAT HAPPENED TO AMELIA EARHART

Satellite imagery from The DigitalGlobe Foundation aids The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) in the expedition for the aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart’s remains. Over the course of TIGHAR's 25 years of research, the impression of what just happen the Earhart has changed and evolved many times. Searching the small Pacific island atoll of Nikumaroro, Republic of Kiribati was the focus and location for the 2012 expedition. This time focusing on a specific underwater location of a possible debris field where the ill-fated Lockheed Electra plane might be resting.



The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR)
Researcher name: Richard Gillespie
Research location: Republic of Kiribati
Research subject: Archaeology

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN ZIMBABWE

Plymouth University researched government destruction of communities in Zimbabwe that lead to criminal investigation with the help of DigitalGlobe imagery. In 2006 proof of alleged human rights violations in Zimbabwe where the government destroyed an entire community in Porta Farms was revealed. Fifteen years before the forced eviction at Porta Farms, it was a thriving community established along the northern edge of Lake Chivero. By 2006 this community was completely destroyed. Going from a population of over 10,000 to 0. Using the satellite imagery, the extent of the humanitarian disaster was exposed to the International Criminal Court and Amnesty International.



Plymouth Universtity
Researcher name: Dr. Chris Lavers
Research location: Zimbabwe
Research subject: Risk Management

USING SATELLITE IMAGERY TO DETECT LAND CHANGE

North Carolina Central University studies urban environments using DigitalGlobe satellite imagery to understand waterway pollution. The city of Raleigh, North Carolina developed a program to require the reduction of waterway pollution. Using images from 1993 to 2002 the city updated the data for the entire city. For each year a change detection analysis was completed. The goal was to update areas with significant change. Then the city was able to calculated the area for impervious surfaces more efficiently, while maintaining accuracy.



North Carolina Central University
Researcher name: R. Ferres
Research location: North Carolina
Research subject: Land Change

STRIKING A SUBSTAINABLE BALANCE

When researchers at Hawaii’s Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum set out to balance conservation efforts with local economic tradition in Papua, New Guinea, they turned to The DigitalGlobe Foundation for assistance. The most challenging issues were centered on the areas being fished in and around the coral reefs. Researchers were able to develop guidelines to let subsistence fishers target mature fish, enabling younger fish to grow and reproduce. This allowed the continuation of fishing all while maintaining harvest levels.



Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
Research location: New Guinea
Research subject: Coastal Studies

GROWING UP AND GIVING BACK IN MALI

DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery allowed Harvard School of Public Health map the trends in malaria morbidity among Malian children. In Mali, malaria is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five. Using the imagery and studying the whole flood basin during both the dry and the wet seasons they were given the ability to map the mosquito breeding grounds . The imagery also helped in accounting for the proximity of seven healthcare centers to the bodies of water. During the 8 year period of the study, presumptive malaria in children was actually decreasing. In addition, children from certain ethnic groups had lower odds of contracting malaria.



Harvard University
Researcher name: Alyson Rose-Wood
Research location: Mali
Research subject: Health

SATELLITE IMAGERY USED IN THE SEARCH FOR GENGHIS KHAN’S TOMB

University of California San Diego (UCSD) research fellow Dr. Albert Yu-Min Lin uses crowdsourced mapping for archaeological discovery in Mongolia. In the spring of 2008 Dr. Lin set out to solve an 800-year-old mystery, to find the tomb of legendary Mongolian leader Genghis Khan. Using high-resolution imagery and noninvasive, ground-based imaging, Dr. Lin's team was able to identify and study dozens of archaeological sites, including ancient burial mounds. Members of the croudsourced network were comprised of thousands of "citizen archaeologists", helping review more than 85,000 sq. km. of imagery in real-time.



University of California San Diego
Researcher name: Dr. Albert Yu Min Lin
Research location: Mongolia
Research subject: Archaeology

PRESERVING THE ALACRANES REEF IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

The Institute of Marine and Coastal Science at Rutgers University explores the Alacranes Reef in the Gulf of Mexico. With the help of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery much needed insight for the photographic expedition was gained before the trip even began. The largest reef system in the Gulf of Mexico is threatened by over fishing and illegal conch gathering. Very limited or outdated imagery of the reef existed. In preparation for the trip and to learn best routes and access before the photographic mission, a study was conducted using the imagery.



Rutgers University
Researcher name: Ben Horton
Research location: Gulf of Mexico
Research subject: Biodiversity

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