Jesse Rouse for VerySpatial: Remote Sensing and Freshwater

VerySpatial, LLC provides a wide range of New Media content on Geography and Geospatial Technologies through our portal at A VerySpatial Podcast distributes weekly episodes including news, events, features, and special episodes such as conference coverage. Continuing Geography Awareness Week, we would like to talk about a topic that brings together geospatial technologies (it is GIS Day after all) with this year’s Geography Awareness … Continue reading Jesse Rouse for VerySpatial: Remote Sensing and Freshwater

Geographic Remote Sensing Technology Used to Identify Damage in Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Background:  In early June, ethnic rioting broke out in and around Osh, Kyrgyzstan.  To better understand the nature of the current violence, the roots of the violence, and the global implications, see our recent blog posts, Ethnic Violence Breaks Out In KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan: Roots of Violence, and International Implications of Violence in Krygyzstan.

The Project:  Following recent reports of extensive violence, including looting and arson, between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) used satellite imagery to conduct a damage assessment of the area around Osh, Kyrgyzstan. AAAS conducted the study at the request of Amnesty International, USA, who wanted to corroborate that on-the-ground reporting was consistent with a bird’s eye view of the violence. 

The Findings:  The satellite images showed concentrated damage in areas surrounding Osh, including Furkat in the East, Kizil Kishtak in the West, and Dikan Kishtak in the South.

The images show that an estimated 1640 structures were damaged including 172 damaged structures in in Furkat, 297 in Cheremushki, 448 in Kizil Kishtak and 551 in Osh.  These are damage estimates, not exact counts, as it is difficult to count structures in dense urban areas using satellite imagery.

 Osh, Kyrgyzstan with areas of observed damage
 Image © 2010 DigitalGlobe – Analysis conducted by AAAS


The images also show that the letters “SOS” repeatedly on roads and athletic fields throughout the city of Osh.  Many of these messages are quite large and, given their configuration, would be difficult to read, except from above.  The total count of “SOS” messages within the study area is 116, which indicates a population hoping for outside intervention.


“SOS” Signs in Osh
 Several of the 116 identified “SOS” messages appear throughout the city, many painted on roads. These particular examples are painted across two lanes of roadway. Coordinates: 40.523, 72.788 
Image © 2010 DigitalGlobe – Analysis conducted by AAAS

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The Aerial Alphabet

I have always enjoyed looking at aerial photography. It is fascinating how the world we live in can seem so different when viewed from above. A building, for instance, is experienced internally as a series of rooms and hallways- – but look at the same structure on Google Maps and it takes on a whole new form.

Rhett Dashwood took this concept to a whole new level when he decided to use Google Maps to explore the Australian state of Victoria. The 32-year-old graphic designer set out on a mission to create an “alphabet” composed entirely of aerial photographs of natural and man-made features that bare resemblance to the Roman alphabet. His only rules: no manipulating the images in any way–meaning no “photo-shopping,” and no rotating.


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