In an update of its interactive monitoring tool in 2019, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) has added the use of satellite imagery to produce figures on internally displaced people. Satellite imagery is an innovative source that can be used to draw a quick and accurate picture of the distribution of populations, especially in small local contexts such as individual villages or refugee camps. For instance, the IDMC has informed their analyses on the housing destructions in the Turkish regions of Sirnak, Idil and Yüksekova in 2016 - caused by clashes between the Turkish government and Kurdish armed groups - using satellite imagery, supplementing other conventional data sources to measure the progress on global policy frameworks and targets related to internal displacement.
IDMC’s use of satellite imagery demonstrated the potentials of this innovative data source to draw a fast and accurate picture of population distributions, especially for specific local contexts. In the cases of the Turkish regions of Sirnak, Idil, and Yüksekova, for instance, IDMC’s leanalysis of satellite imagery found that an estimated 5,300 people had been displaced in 2016. This approach is a useful supplement to both conventional and other innovative data sources, since it provides detailed insights on local population distributions without naturally raising data privacy concerns. Overall, this instrument can be usefully applied to manifold contexts where satellite imagery is available and detailed information on population distributions are required.
(Picture: © The Battle for Mosul, Tommy Trenchard)