The Challenge | The Land Where Displaced People Settle

Characterize land cover/land use at informal settlements of displaced populations using NASA satellite datasets.


Goal11 is a tool to understand informal settlements development



Informal settlements are a key issue in these days. Wars, anti-democratic political regimes and natural disasters force more and more people to move away from their home countries and seek refuge somewhere else.

The presence of a settlement obviously affects the environment around it. The aim of this project is to propose an innovative approach to the analysis of informal settlements. Clarity and simplicity were essential guidelines we gave ourselves before starting working on the project.


The first phase consisted on the collection of satellite's data to better understand the situation of the settlement under study. We used images of Sentinel-2 to collect data about land, vegetation and water.


The second phase was about combining this data in an intelligent way. We developed an algorithm capable of taking a lot of satellite photos of the same location regularly during the year in order to detect land, vegetation and water changes.


The result is a full-fledged command line app that works across operating systems and is able to display a single settlement, its layers and the amount of conflict and fatalities around a settlement. The backend can be easily adapted to become a mobile app of which we have created a mockup.

We think this tool is already able to display data in a very creative way having full interactivity, with the ability to check against historical flora and climate data.

The way we developed the idea and modularized its structure leaves open huge possibilities for further development and even third-party integration. We specifically created the app with analytical capabilities that could one day help policy makers make informed decisions about settlement energy management and bettering the lives of people that are currently living in dire conditions. These are the people we had in mind from the beginning, we choose this challenge because even though current events created a crysis of epic proportions sensibilizations is still lacking.


Goal 11


Project on GitHub


Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2018 processed by Sentinel Hub

Inquirer: Copyright (c) 2016 Simon Boudrias, Licensed under the MIT license.

Sentinel-hub-py: Copyright (c) 2018 Sentinel Hub, Licensed under the MIT license.


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