Copyright 2006 - UNESCO

Space for Heritage

Space for World Heritage sites (From Space 2 Place) 

Monitoring UNESCO sites

Space technologies have a multitude of applications for providing on-going monitoring of natural and cultural sites including:
  • by comparing time-series of satellite images, remote sensing becomes an excellent tool to observe ground terrain changes and assist in understanding emerging threats to the heritage sites or to follow-up if the conservation measurements are being effective or not (see more land cover changes in Iguazu)

  • modern resolution of satellite images (today up to 60cm) enables the creation of accurate maps. Lack of associated cartography is a common problem in developing countries. There is therefore an urgent need for developing Member States to have proper cartography to define the protected borders and be able to undertake the corresponding law enforcement to assist in the conservation of the site (see more deriving cartography for sites in Central Africa);

  • using satellite images as a means to improve the information flow and communication among site managers and conservation authorities: "an image is worth a thousand words" (see the decision support tool for Gorilla Conservation);

  • analyzing regional environmental changes and human induced activities and the associated impact at site level.

    Improving UNESCO site data

    Countries frequently lack accurate data such as cartography for their heritage sites which creates difficulties in undertaking a proper ongoing monitoring.

    Satellite imagery can bridge this enormous gap by:
    • integrating space technologies to derive accurate data and information to improve the Periodic Reporting process for the World Heritage Convention;

    • providing support data and information to improve the documentation, visualization and of natural and cultural heritage.