EUROSENSE contributed to the workshop “Let’s embrace Space”, the EC- FP8 Space Research Hearing event held on the 8 December 2010 in Brussels. Our presentation “Increasing European security in addressing International human risks by combining remote sensing data with socio-economical information” was selected in the fourth session addressing “Emerging space applications to address challenges on and around the Earth”. Security and space applications have been stated by EC representatives as one of the objectives of EC future research.
EUROSENSE demonstrated that Space technology should address two specific questions: “where are people?” and “are they vulnerable to specific risks?”. Our assumption is that Earth Observation data should be aimed to provide accurate, timely and relevant information to better understand and measure human security. Human security deals with risks occurring to people. While remote sensing information informs precisely about extent and exposure to specific risks, the link to the specific population is still a critical step for future research. Knowing where people are and if they are vulnerable to specific risks are two major research questions that are still to be addressed by European projects.
To address the first question, population distribution models are developed (see figure 1 below). The G-Mosaic EUROSENSE population density map disaggregates demographic data from statistical sources (GPWv3, CIESIN) with land use information (LCC2000-UCL-Geomatics) and ancillary data. This georeferenced spatial distribution of population data is an initial step to other socio-economic statistics. Deriving a grid-based/raster dataset of socio-environmental indicators from satellite imagery and statistical data is a challenging but promising technique of combining EO and socio-economic information through specific assumption about spatial patterns. While population information is of poor quality, model assumptions help to identify the spatial pattern of the distribution by indirect factors. Land use information is crucial in such a model.
The second question refers to analysis of risks and vulnerabilities. EUROSENSE geospatial technologies provide already technological support to authorities in the prevention and post-crisis management phases of emergency cycles such as flood, industrial crisis, … Geospatial tools are also developed by EUROSENSE to better represent energy linkages, water flows and risks, urban sprawl and imperviousness of European cities. Their application to address issues outside of Europe needs to refer to local specifications as well as global challenges such as climate change. Remote sensing products should for example be adapted to help the decision makers to improve forest conservation (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation – REDD).
Remote Sensing products developed through GMES research projects at the European level should be extended in FP8 research projects and specifically focused to address international human security. For humanitarian aid, development and environmental reasons, the European Commission should get technical spatial information about risks to humans. This means to make the spatial link between population/ assets and risks. Human security research would allow Europe to address issues in its neighboring countries but also global challenges such as climate change and forest conservation. Geospatial technologies promote European research in developing countries where accurate information is significantly missing. Geospatial technology related to human well-being can support the European policy on the international sphere.
Figure 1: G-Mosaic population distribution map produced by EUROSENSE