Special Interest Group | Developing Countries

Rapid transformation processes occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), impacting natural habitats, rural, peri-urban and urban areas. In particular, LMICs have accelerated economic growth combined with rapid conversion of natural habitats. The newly emerging human settlements exhibit varying degrees of inequalities in terms of access to basic infrastructure and essential services. Moreover, local environmental conditions can have severe impacts on living conditions and health outcomes. To adequately monitor these transformation processes, timely and spatially disaggregated data are essential but often not available. Earth Observation (EO) data can provide immense opportunities for monitoring these transformations, but several challenges, pertaining to their use, need to be tackled.

Flood in Sudan 20202 (source: NASA)

The EARSeL SIG on Developing Countries has been founded to bring together scientists, stakeholders, local and international organisations to support sustainable development in developing countries. It aims to provide methodological and application pathways in support of local and national information needs and specifically, supporting the monitoring of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).To achieve these tasks,, the SIG is open to all kinds of Earth Observation-based applications and methodological innovations that are set in these regions. In particular, we welcome:

  • Methodological and data innovations. Here, we invite contributions that advance the current state-of-the-art with regard to the implementation of AI and EO-based algorithms to measure and characterise urban and rural transformations from various fields (environmental, demographic, socio-economic, health, hazards, climate change). The novel use of existing datasets to contribute to this task is also welcomed.
  • Innovative Applications. Applied studies that tackle the previously mentioned topics using EO to provide locally relevant information to users and showing how EO can create societal impacts.


The SIG on Developing Countries  organises regular workshops on a bi-annual basis. The workshops are organised with invited oral presentations and posters, with plenty of time for discussions and exchange. Additional sessions on the SIG topics are proposed within the annual Our next event will take place in the 41st EARSeL Symposium in Pafos, Cyprus between 13-16 September 2022. The SIG thematic workshop is titled “Earth Observation of the Global South” and  will allow researchers to exchange on state-of-the-art EO methods to analyse transformation processes in the Global South (e.g., environmental risk, hazards, urbanisation, demographic and socio-economic conditions, conservation, agriculture), while enabling their integration for evidence-based policy making (e.g., SDGs). More information will soon be posted at the Symposium website under the “Workshops” section.

Contact us

Monika Kuffer, Dr

Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente 

Department Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-information Management

Phone : +31 (0)53 4874301

Email: m.kuffer@utwente.nl

Website: https://research.utwente.nl/en/persons/monika-kuffer

Stefanos Georganos, Dr

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Website: https://www.kth.se/profile/stegeo

Email: stegeo@kth.se