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Watching Gaza from space

The media aren’t being admitted into the Gaza Strip, but satellites are far above the battle...and taking pictures.

At Unosat, you can track the damage inflicted on Gaza between December 31 and January 6, and no doubt more updates will soon be available.

Here’s part of what Unosat said on January 9, re-paragraphed for easier reading:

This map presents a preliminary and on-going satellite-based damage assessment for affected areas within Gaza City. Damaged buildings, infrastructure and impact craters have been identified with WorldView-1 satellite imagery acquired on 6 January 2009, and received at a reduced spatial resolution of 2 meters.

Pre-crisis Ikonos satellite imagery from June 2005 was also used. Affected buildings were classified either as destroyed or severely damaged by standard image interpretation methods. Destroyed buildings have been defined by the total collapse of the structure or when it was standing but with less than 50% of the roof still intact.

Severely damaged buildings were defined as having visible structural damage to a portion of one wall, or where a section of the roof was damaged but with over 50% of the roof still intact.

Please note: Buildings not marked in the map as damaged does not imply the buildings are undamaged, only that damages were not identified with the available satellite imagery at the time of map publication. Because of the reduced spatial resolution of this satellite imagery, the confidence level for damage identification within dense urban areas is significantly reduced.

It is highly probable, therefore, that the damages currently identified in this map underestimate the actual building and infrastructure damages present on the ground at the time of satellite image acquisition.

As of January 10, the maps available on the site are PDFs dated 31 December 2008, 5 January 2009, and 6 January 2009. Both high- and low-resolution maps are downloadable.

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