Project Title: EO4HumEn+: Extended EO-based services for dynamic information needs in humanitarian action

Project partners:

  • Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg, Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS, Salzburg, Austria [Project leader]
  • Austrian Red Cross
  • Earth Observation Center (EOC) of the German Aerospace Center DLR [with own funding]
  • Spatial Services GmbH, Salzburg, Austria
  • University Tübingen, Department of Geography, Germany [Subcontractor]
  • Groundwater Relief [Subcontractor]
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [associated]
  • SOS Children’s Villages [associated]
  • Doctors without Borders Section Austria [associated]

Funding: Austrian Research Promotion Agency (German: Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft or FFG) under the Austrian Space Applications Programme (ASAP 12, Nr. 854041)

Duration: May 2016 – April 2018

Budget: 430,000 €

Project objectives:
The number of forcibly uprooted people rises every year. Humanitarian action as one part of the response to this situation relies on targeted, up-to date and reliable information to handle this challenge. Within precursor activities and a close collaboration with Doctors without Borders (MSF), Z_GIS has started developing Earth-observation (EO) based solutions for the humanitarian sector. Thereby we address the following challenges:

(1) large numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) worldwide live not only in camps, but more than half of the world’s refugee population under UNHCR mandate lives in urban settings,

(2) monitoring of environmental resources like groundwater or wood reserves is a concern of humanitarian actors, but the current EO-based solutions are seldom automated and therefore do not tap the full potential of the immense amounts of satellite data, and

(3) there is an increasing demand for a diversified product portfolio within a growing user community.

The aim of the project EO4HumEn+ is to implement more automated routines to exploit the data stream of e.g. the Sentinel mission, improving the capabilities of EO methods to provide realistic population estimations also in urban areas as well as extend the established service portfolio to the diversifying needs of the humanitarian community, cooperating with a wide range of NGOs including ICRC, the Austrian Red Cross, SOS Children’s Villages, MSF and Groundwater Relief.

Stefan Lang
in Team ZGIS EO4HumEn+

Stefan Lang, PhD, Associate Professor at the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics (Z_GIS) at the University of Salzburg in Austria, is Geographer, GIS and Remote Sensing specialist by training. He is heading the Z_GIS Division Integrated Spatial Analysis (ISA). Active in the fields of advanced geo-spatial image analysis, EO-based monitoring and spatial indicator integration, he works on cutting-edge research fields on both conceptual and applied level. Stefan coordinates the EO4HumEn+ project.

Barbara Riedler
in Team ZGIS EO4HumEn+

Barbara Riedler, MSc, is biologist with expertise in the field of environmental monitoring, and GIS expert. Within the EO4HumEn+ project Barbara is supporting the project management, coordinating the work related to population estimation and is involved in vulnerability assessments. She also coordinates the operational requests from MSF regarding EO-based information products of refugee and IDP camps.

Lorenz Wendt
in Team ZGIS EO4HumEn+

Lorenz Wendt, PhD, is geologist and remote sensing specialist. His research interests are the application and development of remote sensing to address geological and environmental topics. He works at University of Salzburg’s Department of Geoinformatics (Z_GIS). In EO4HumEn+ he coordinates the monitoring of environmental resources.

Dirk Tiede
in Team ZGIS EO4HumEn+

Dirk Tiede, PhD, is geographer, specialized in GIS and remote sensing. As an assistant professor at the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics (Z_GIS), University of Salzburg, Austria he is coordinating the working group OBIA. He is specialized in image analysis using EO data and OBIA, GIS application development and GIS modelling. Within the EO4HumEn+ project Dirk is supporting the methodological developments of EO data pre-processing and object-based feature extraction.

Petra Füreder
in Team ZGIS EO4HumEn+

Petra Füreder has been providing EO-based information products of refugee and IDP camps to MSF since 2011 and is responsible for coordinating the operational requests from MSF.

She is holding a Master’s degree in Applied Geoinformatics and is working as researcher at the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS, Salzburg University since 2008. She has been involved in a range of national and EU funded research projects in the field of humanitarian operations, environmental monitoring and emergency response. Her research interests include development of automated image classification methods using object-based image analysis (OBIA), cartography and visualization.

Edith Rogenhofer
in Team MSF EO4HumEn+

Edith Rogenhofer started to work in the humanitarian field in 1991 and is working since 1998 with MSF. She has mainly worked in projects in Africa, with a few stints in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The majority of the projects have been projects in complex emergencies, focusing on water supply and sanitation in camp settings and rural areas. She is holding an MSc in Water management as well as diploma in drilling. Within the EO4HumEn+ project Edith coordinates the information and mapping requests from the international MSF movement.

Andreas Braun
in Team Uni Tübingen EO4HumEn+

Andreas Braun is a PhD student at the Department for Geography at University of Tübingen, Germany. He studied Geoinformatics and Landscape System Sciences (M.Sc.) and participated in various international research projects on Global Change, ecosystems and natural resources. Within the EO4HumEn+ project Andreas uses SAR data of TerraSAR-X, ALOS PALSAR and Sentinel-1 to support environmental impact assessments and groundwater exploration and management.

Volker Hochschild
in Team Uni Tübingen EO4HumEn+

Volker Hochschild is Professor of Geoinformatics at the Geographical Institute of Tuebingen University since 2004. His major research subjects are multisensoral remote sensing, web-based spatial data bases, qualitative compilation of environmental risks and vulnerabilities using integrative assessment methods and indices as well as GIS-based management recommendations for natural resources.

Richard Schörghofer
in Team Spatial Services EO4HumEn+

Richard Schörghofer, GIS specialist, studied Geoinformation (BSc) at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (CUAS) and was involved in several international and national projects. At Spacial Services GmbH, Richard deals with the blue-printing of software and hardware and the setup and maintainance of servers and the handling spatial databases to create metadata portals and web enabled GIS applications. Within EO4HumEn+ project Richard sets up a metadata sharing portal and maintains the SDI.

Hubert Schöndorfer
in Team Spatial Services EO4HumEn+

Hubert Schöndorfer studied Geography degree with a focus on geoinformatics at the University of Salzburg. 1997 he founded the company GEOID – geographical information and data management and was CEO until 2006. From 2000 to 2004 he was Director of the GISCluster Salzburg and from 1999 to 2004 he was Managing Director of the company NextGIS – 3D laser scanning and modeling. Since 2006 until 2015 he was the owner of the GEOVIZ – Geographic Visualization. Since 2014 he manages the project GeoSPS – geo enabled smart processes and services – at the University of Salzburg – Z_GIS. 2015 he works as the CEO of the Spin-off Spatial Services GmbH. In EO4HumEn+ he coordinates the project for Spatial Services GmbH.

Elisabeth Schöpfer
in Team DLR EO4HumEn+

Elisabeth Schoepfer, PhD, is geographer, specialized in GIS and remote sensing. She is leading a research team on ‘Humanitarian relief and crisis indicators’ at the Earth Observation Center of DLR. Her research interests include, from a technical point of view, object-based image analysis (OBIA), change detection and spatial analysis focusing on exploring human-environment interactions, specifically in disasters or crisis situations. Elisabeth coordinates the EO4HumEn+ project for DLR.

Alexander Öze
in Team Austrian Red Cross EO4HumEn+

Alexander is a water and sanitation engineer with more than 10 years professional experience in water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion in East Africa and South Asia. Through his background in the humanitarian sector, wide network and knowledge in disaster response, he will specifically contribute to the scenario development of the EO4HumEn+ project and coordinate the humanitarian sector users.

Elmar Göbl
in Team Austrian Red Cross EO4HumEn+

Elmar has extensive professional experience in rural water projects in long-term development as well as humanitarian setting. His engineering background and long-standing involvement in the Red Cross movement will be crucial for the validation of the generated data in the EO4HumEn+ project, especially in remote locations.

Bassam Qashqo
in Team Austrian Red Cross EO4HumEn+

Bassam is studying Geographic Information Science and Systems (MSc GISs) at the University of Salzburg. He has started working in the humanitarian field in 2012 as a GIS Head of Unit with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Since mid-2016 he is supporting the WASH team of the Austrian Red Cross, especially in his role as a GIS specialist for the EO4HumEn+ project.

Magdalena Bäuerl
in Team Austrian Red Cross EO4HumEn+

As an environmental engineer Magdalena brings along six years of work experience in water and sanitation, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Magdalena recently joined the Austrian Red Cross and is supporting the EO4HumEn+ project in her role as WASH Advisor.

  1. Lang, S., Füreder, P., Riedler, B., Wendt, L., Tiede, D., D’Oleire-Oltmanns, S., Schoepfer, E., Spröhnle, K., Braun, A., Hochschild, V., Zeil, P., Rogenhofer, E. and Bäuerl, M., 2018. EO4Hum – a geospatial information service to boost the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance, In: Kalaitzidis, C. and Manakos, I., eds., Proceedings of the 38th EARSeL Symposium, Chania.

  2. Adebola, H, Wendt, L., Riedler, B., 2018. Development of an Automated Tool for Spatial Analysis of Refugee Camps, GI_Forum 2018, 1, 263, doi:1553/giscience2018_01_s263

  3. Braun, A., Hochschild, V., 2017. A SAR-Based Index for Landscape Changes in African Savannas. Remote Sensing, 9(4), 359 doi:10.3390/rs904035
  4. Tiede, D., Krafft, P., Füreder, P., Lang, S., 2017. Stratified Template Matching to Support Refugee Camp Analysis in OBIA Workflows, Remote Sensing, 9, 326, doi:10.3390/rs9040326
  5. Braun A., Hochschild V. 2017. Potential and limitations of radar remote sensing for humanitarian operations, GI_Forum 2017,1, 228, doi: 10.1553/giscience2017_01_s228
  6. Lang S., Schoepfer E., Zeil P., Riedler B., 2017. Earth Observation for Humanitarian Assistance, GI_Forum 2017, 157, doi: 10.1553/giscience2017_01_s157
  7. Lechner K., Nolde M., Kiefl R., Enenkel M., Papp A., Scherkenbach C., Voigt S., 2017. Earth Observation for SOS Children’s Villages: Deployment of cutting-edge technology to support a humanitarian NGO in emergency management, GI_Forum 2017,1, 199, doi: 10.1553/giscience2017_01_s199
  8. Riedler B., Bäuerl M., Wendt L., Kulessa K., Öze, A., 2017. Remote-sensing applications to support rehabilitation of water infrastructure in Lapilang, Nepal, GI_Forum 2017,1, 183, doi: 10.1553/giscience2017_01_s183
  9. Schörghofer R., Lang, S., Wendt L., Riedler B., 2017. CMaP – Collaborative Mapping Platform for humanitarian organisations, GI_Forum 2017,1, 207, doi: 10.1553/giscience2017_01_s207
  10. Sudmanns M., Tiede D., Wendt L., Baraldi A., 2017. Automatic ex-post flood assessment using long time series of optical Earth observation images, GI_Forum 2017,1, 217, doi: 10.1553/giscience2017_01_s217
  11. Toca L., Gueye A., Rebois Y., Albarazi G., 2017. The use of satellite imagery and GIS for humanitarian assistance: developing and managing water supply in urban territories under conflict, GI_Forum 2017,1, 166, doi: 10.1553/giscience2017_01_s166
  12. Wendt L., Lang S., Rogenhofer E., 2017. Monitoring of refugee and IDP camps with Sentinel 2 imagery – a feasibility study, GI_Forum 2017,1, 172, doi: 10.1553/giscience2017_01_s172
  13. Spröhnle, K., Bäuerl, M., Gossaye, A., Quashqo, B., Schoepfer E., 2017. Earth observation-based information products for supporting humanitarian assistance – A case study from Ethiopia. Poster at the 4.7.-7.7.2017.
  14. Krafft, P., Tiede, D., Füreder, P., 2016. Template Matching to Support Earth Observation Based Refugee Camp Analysis in OBIA Workflows – Creation and Evaluation of a Dwelling Template Library for Improving Dwelling Extraction, In: Kerle, N., Gerke, M., Lefèvre, S. (Eds.), GEOBIA 2016: Solutions and Synergies. University of Twente Faculty of Geo-Information and Earth Observation (ITC). ISBN 9789036542012. doi:
  15. Kranz, O., Sachs, A., & Lang, S., 2015. Assessment of environmental changes induced by internally displaced person (IDP) camps in the Darfur region, Sudan, based on multi-temporal MODIS data. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 36(1), 190-210.