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Combining the power of humans and satellites

Many parts of the world are not yet sufficiently mapped. These are typically vulnerable regions of developing countries that would benefit greatly from improved maps. Maps inform decision making of governments and NGOs but also directly benefit communities and local businesses, strengthening economies and raising standards of living. 


The most valuable maps don’t just show the locations of features, they also include contextual information. For example, knowing just the location of a store isn’t very useful without knowing its name, what it sells and what its opening hours are. Both types of geospatial data are equally important.


Satellite-Based Surveying is a new method for collecting this geospatial data more efficiently, by harnessing the combined power of satellites and humans.

Existing method

Geospatial data is typically collected in developing countries by dispatching trained teams of data collectors into the field. They are instructed to gather information about a given type of feature of which the location might not be known. The bottleneck in this process is finding the feature of interest. Once it is found, additional data can be gathered fairly quickly.

Satellite-Based Surveying

Why send people searching for things on the ground when we can find those things from space? We use satellite imagery to localise features of interest before sending anyone into the field. Data collectors travel to predetermined locations and provide additional information from the ground through a mobile application. This saves time and manpower.

Potential applications

Got another idea?

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Pilot Project

The operational feasibility of Satellite-Based Surveying was successfully tested in south-central Mali. The pilot project was carried out in collaboration with data consultancy non-profit Akvo and humanitarian mapping company BlackShore


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Space Business Innovation Centre Kapteynstraat 1 

2201 BB Noordwijk

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