Big Data from Outer Space: Opportunities and Challenges for Crisis Response

  • Nina Witjes
  • Philipp Olbrich
  • Isabella Rebasso
Part of the Yearbook on Space Policy book series (YEARSPACE)


Shortly after the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010, Google and the satellite imagery provider GeoEye released images demonstrating the level of destruction inflicted by the disaster. These images helped those on the outside grasp the severe consequences of the earthquake, but more importantly the availability of high-resolution imagery yielded opportunities for humanitarian organisations in the aftermath of this disaster. The combination of geospatial information technologies such as remote sensing, satellite navigation, internet mapping technologies with crowdsourcing initiatives or machine-learning algorithms was used to draft crisis maps and to facilitate distribution of scarce resources in support of response teams on the ground.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina Witjes
    • 1
  • Philipp Olbrich
    • 2
  • Isabella Rebasso
    • 3
  1. 1.Munich Center for Technology in Society, Technical University MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Austrian Institute for International AffairsViennaAustria

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