Project Title: X3D4Pop: Suitability of mixed-satellite-sensor derived 3D data for rapid urban population estimation in crisis situations

Project partners:

  • Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg, Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS, Salzburg, Austria [Project leader]
  • UNIGE-GRID, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Austrian Institute of Technology – AIT / Energy Department
  • German Aerospace Center DLR [in kind]

Funding: Austrian Research Promotion Agency (German: Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft or FFG) under the Austrian Space Applications Programme (ASAP 13, Nr. 859796) and Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft

Duration: May 2017 – May 2018

Budget: 200,000 €

Project objectives:

How many people live in a given city? This seemingly simple question very often arises in the daily work of MSF (Doctors without Borders) or SOS Children’s Villages. Activities like a vaccination campaign or the preparation for natural disasters require up-to-date population figures, and with more and more people moving into cities, the sprawling urban areas move more and more into the focus of aid and relief organisations.

Population numbers can be estimated from the number of buildings mapped in remote sensing data, but in urban areas, 3D data is required to account for the building heights. The research project X3D4Pop, which was kicked off in Salzburg on 16th May 2017, aims at exploring the potential of 3D data derived from satellite image pairs initially not acquired for stereo data production, as dedicated stereo image pairs are often missing. Can image pairs from different satellites, acquired at different times, be used to derive building heights?

X3D4Pop brings together experts in photogrammetry from the German Aerospace Center DLR and dasymetric mappingfrom the Austrian Institute of Technology AIT and the Swiss UNEP/GRID-Geneva, and is led by Z_GIS to further enlarge the portfolio of remote sensing services for humanitarian relief organisations. X3D4Pop is funded by the Austrian FFG, the Swiss Space Office SSO, and the DLR.