Atlas AI, a provider of geospatial intelligence products informing investment in sustainable and inclusive growth, announced the public release of its Atlas of Human Settlements 2021 data layers for Turkey and Syria in response to the recent earthquake. The AHS data offers crucial intelligence for crisis management bodies in their immediate efforts to respond to the disaster, as well as to help inform the most sustainable approach to long-term rebuilding efforts.
Available on Google Cloud’s Analytics Hub and powered by BigQuery, the AHS provides a comprehensive and up-to-date view of human settlements around the world, delivering precise information on the evolving footprint and density of human activity through the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to satellite imagery.
“Analysis of the built environment assets affected by a natural disaster can help guide search and rescue efforts, improve distribution of humanitarian aid, and prioritize mid- and long term reconstruction and investment planning,” said Abe Tarapani, CEO of Atlas AI. “We’re proud to make the Atlas of Human Settlements dataset covering Turkey and Syria freely available to government and humanitarian agencies supporting the response to this tragic crisis, and we are committed to continuing to enhance this product in the days and weeks to come as needs emerge.”
With the outdated information offered by the best alternative source, the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) from 2018, the AHS layers offer the most up-to-date pre-crisis data from 2021, are of superior quality, and are delivered with annual updates at a spatial resolution of 10 meters. The package includes three data products, including a built-up surface map, built-up index map, and settlement map. The AHS product is explicitly designed to help response agencies answer questions such as:
- Where were buildings clustered in the highest density before the incident?
- Which clusters coincide with the highest population density?
- How best to approach / access the densest built-up parts within settlements?
“Years of research and development have gone into the AHS solution, making it possible to produce high resolution global settlement maps within hours of a crisis,” said Georgios Ouzounis, Head of AI Research at Atlas AI. “Nothing can be more fundamental than ensuring we have an up to date and accurate picture of where people live on the planet to inform a wide range of investment and humanitarian activities.”
Unlike other products that offer dynamic traces of population based on mobile phone records and app location traces, Atlas AI focuses on the relationship between the built environment and human settlement — where people have been known to be living and working. Knowing this with precision can help response efforts in prioritizing outreach to the most densely settled and built up parts of the region, which are likely to be most affected by a natural disaster such as an earthquake.