How Earth Observation Data is used to Analyse Housing Shortages

by | Jun 9, 2022

Earth observation (EO) has become a vital part of analyzing real-time mapping data and visualizing changes that are impacting our world. EO research has evolved in the last few decades due to the increase of commercial and publicly owned satelites. According to the satellite consultancy, Euroconsult, there will be an additional 17,000 satellites launched over the next decade, which is a fourfold increase over the last 10 years. This means that satellites will be able to produce high levels of EO data (databases will exceed the data size of hundreds of petabytes) that can be utilized by authorities and organizations to detect the changes in towns, countries and the world we live in.

One of the ways that organizations are using this EO data right now is for detecting which areas of the world are suffering with housing shortages. In this article, we will look at why organizations are using EO data for real estate analysis and how the data is benefiting the housing industry.

So why are the real estate industry monitoring EO data?

Governments and property organizations are analyzing EO data for many reasons including:

  • Land restrictions & challenges: EO can retrieve accurate visual information to make decisions on new and existing building and community development sites. Data can help to observe potential risks of land disputes, areas for improving urbanization and possible security or health risks such as polluted areas. It can also capture the impact that climate change is having on land and whether it is safe to build houses in certain locations due to risk of fire, landslides or flooding.
  • Monitoring current housing: Automated visual data from EO can capture the current real-time situations of housing in different regions such as over-population, high density infrastructure and consequent impact on the environment and resources. This kind of data is crucial for realising any potential issues or opportunities for building or redeveloping sites to create future housing for areas that need it. The automated recognition process that is conducted through GIS tools is a vital way to manage data to highlight these risks or opportunities.
  • Detecting changes of real estate: The combination of tools that can create vector layers of buildings that is overlayed on a cadastral map can help to detect changes in real estate. Visual imaging data over time can help to spot the difference in the amount of building in locations to assess if demand is being met via regional populations.

How is the real estate industry maximizing the value EO data?

Masses of amounts of data are being acquired from satellites and remote sensing technologies (LiDAR – light detection and ranging) that can produce 3D models of locations by scanning the area of objects and device locations. The calculations of the spatial distances of objects are gauged by the travel time of light to produce these accurate maps. The increasing resolutions of visual data means GIS platforms can process high-quality data that can create effective mapping solutions.

EO data attained from image recognition and remote sensing technology helps to uncover the sustainable levels of housing that is needed via regions. By preventing regional housing issues, it can prevent the risks from spreading into a wider housing crisis where it could impact an entire nation and other regions.

This data is also being utilized by commercial companies to monitor changes or patterns in property portfolios which helps them to make more effective decisions for their financial benefit. The intelligence from geospatial technology can give a better insight into how the housing market is evolving and allows property businesses to visualize competitor portfolios and estimate future valuations by regions.

It also enables the market to better understand the regional requirements and demands such as volume of properties, cost of properties, types of property (e.g., flats, family houses, rental) and the facilities available to housing areas. All these considerations are important to the success of uptake of housing, to accommodate the future needs to a community and to preventing housing shortages. The future of the housing developments will depend on Earth Observation data for helping to make these crucial decisions, as the need to produce more sustainable towns with effective living conditions is vital.