Fig. 1. A contrast of restricted and unrestricted satellite imagery of buildings in the West Bank, with a Maxar Technologies image (taken 22 August 2013) at 2m+ GSD on the left, and an Airbus image (taken 15 November 2013) at c.0.5m on the right. Map Data: Google Earth.

EAMENA leads reform on satellite imagery restrictions in the Levant

On 25 June 2020 it was announced at the 27th meeting of the Advisory Council on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES) of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment (KBA) restrictions on the optical resolution of satellite imagery over Israel would be dramatically lowered from the current level of 2m Ground Sampling Distance (GSD) down to 0.4m GSD.

Translating EAMENA’s platform into Arabic: challenges and solutions

The EAMENA project documents endangered heritage in 20 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In all but Iran, Arabic is the main language spoken in these countries. Therefore, in order to enhance the value of the EAMENA database as a heritage mapping and management tool for researchers and institutions based in the MENA region, the team has prioritised translating the platform into this language.

EAMENA at international round table on Yemen

We took part in a UNESCO-sponsored international round table held in the UNITAR offices in Geneva on 11 December 2015.

The scope of the round table, which included 15 participants (plus Justine Mackinnon of the Qatar Computing Research Institute via Skype conference call), was to discuss strategies for the integration of current crowdsourcing and mapping projects to aid Yemeni authorities in their efforts to monitor and assess damage to the country’s endangered cultural heritage.

Survey Gazetteer Digitisation

One of the principal aims of EAMENA is the survey of archaeological sites for threat or disturbance through the use of satellite imagery and aerial photographs. The compilation of what archaeology or heritage is there to begin with, before we can access how it has been impacted over time, is a many-faceted process. One of my tasks at the moment is scanning for potential sites in Yemen using satellite imagery available through Google Earth. This process is complemented by knowledge of previous archaeological surveys in the region.

What’s in a Word: Terminology and the Database

The purpose of the EAMENA project is not only to identify and record damage to archaeological sites but also, ultimately, to make that information available through an open-access database. With that in mind, the construction of the database has been a primary concern since the project started, and over the past few weeks in particular, the team has had several discussions, both formal and informal, about our vision for it.