With major global conflicts and geopolitical shifts happening, satellite imagery is undoubtedly gaining traction. Satellite imagery provides the power of visualization in real-time. For years, it has been used by the geo-intelligence (GEOINT) community to gather relevant data, such as studying the magnitude of attacks and destruction that takes place in the conflicted zone. From presenting evidence of newly built detention facilities in Xinjiang to a significant build-up of the Chinese military in the Galwan Valley, satellite imagery is being extensively used by security analysts and investigators because of its unbiased and constant insights.
However, concerns are revolving around the availability of the images as they could create a significant threat to security. As per a recent BBC report, images of Gaza that are available on Google are blurry. Google Earth and Apple Maps are not updated. Apple is working to update its maps soon to a higher resolution. On the other hand, as per the BBC, Google has no plans to refresh the images anymore momentarily. Like Google, Apple, etc., mapping platforms rely on companies that own satellites to supply imagery.
European Space Imaging and Maxar Technologies, major satellite imagery and data providers have captured the Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite imagery of Gaza conflict area. “VHR satellite imagery can provide critical information for emergency relief operations to evaluate the extent of damage and get an entire overview of the scene,” said Adrian Zevenbergen, Managing Director, European Space Imaging. “It supplies crisis management teams with logistical insights for planning, as well as enabling humanitarian relief operations to safely assist those affected by the ongoing conflict.”
On 12 May 2021, European Space Imaging collected VHR optical imagery over Israel-Gaza with GeoEye-1 satellite at 50 cm resolution. On 17th May 2021, its partner Maxar Technologies also captured satellite imagery over the same area with WorldView-2 satellite at 50 cm resolution. European Space Imaging has analyzed the imagery with various regions of fresh damage evident from the 5 days in between the collections. Most of the damage has occurred within the vicinities of the local Mosque and along the Salah al-Din Road, the main highway of the Gaza Strip