Eye in the Sky: Drones and Other Remote Sensing Technologies in Humanitarian Aid

Panel details

Panel organiser(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online
Number of paper presentations 1


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Remote sensing technologies like satellites and drones are becoming more widely used in humanitarian aid work. For the first time in history, aid workers are capable of monitoring disasters and complex emergencies from many miles away with satellite imagery, even in non-permissive environments. Inexpensive and easy-to-use drones are now used by many actors in the settings that humanitarians work in, enabling them to quickly assess disaster damage, create pre and post-disaster maps, and gain situational awareness. However, these new technologies carry with them numerous operational and ethical challenges, from the regulatory to the ethical to the operational. This panel will explore the potential and the pitfalls of humanitarian remote sensing, drawing from both academic and practitioner expertise and experiences: it will link pragmatic, field-based concerns and perspectives with the ethical and regulatory conversation surrounding humanitarian remote sensing. The panel discussion will be themed around these questions (among others): Can humanitarian data collection be balanced with the privacy and security of affected populations, and what protocols should exist to ensure that this takes place? Where do remote-sensing technologies fit into international humanitarian law? How should disaster-affected communities be involved in humanitarian remote sensing work? What remote sensing tools should humanitarians use in what context, and when should they decline to use them at all?

Paper presentations

Crisis Infrastructure
Author(s): Madeeha Merchant

Date & Time

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Faine Greenwood