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Using very high spatial resolution multispectral satellite sensor imagery to monitor refugee camps

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Detailed geographic information is a key factor in decision making processes during refugee relief operations. The forthcoming commercial very high spatial resolution (VHSR) satellite sensors will be capable of acquiring multispectral (MS) images at spatial resolutions of 1m (panchromatic) and 4m (multispectral) of refugee camps and their environment. This work demonstrates how refugee camp environment, area and population can be analysed using a VHSR MS satellite sensor image from the Russian KVR-1000 sensor. This image, with a spatial resolution of 3.3m, was used to study Thailand's Site 2 refugee camps, which were established to accommodate Khmer refugees on the Thai-Kampuchean border. At the time of image acquisition, the total population of Site 2's five refugee camps was close to 143000. The VHSR MS image was found to be suitable for mapping the refugee camp environment and area. A statistically significant linear relationship between camp area and population was determined. Accordingly, the study suggests that VHSR MS images in general may be useful for refugee camp planning and management and points toward the utilization of forthcoming commercial VHSR MS satellite sensor images in humanitarian relief operations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 15, 2000

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