EU Science Hub

Mapping Human Settlements Globally

Feb 21 2011

The JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC), in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), has produced the first prototype of the global human settlement layer (GHSL) using European medium resolution ENVISAT ASAR satellite data and advanced pattern recognition algorithms developed by the JRC. The first test results cover most of the African continent's surface and confirm the efficiency of the algorithms and underpinning high performance computing infrastructure to allow a rapid analysis of about 4 billion image elements corresponding to 270 ENVISAT ASAR scenes.

The GHSL is expected to benefit many applications ranging from disaster risk reduction and post-disaster humanitarian relief to regular monitoring of changes in human settlement patterns and extent.

During 2011, the JRC will complete the first ever finer detail global human settlement layer based on European ENVISAT ASAR data.