Satellite Image Analysis for Maintenance of Property Databases (Airbus Defence and Space) (IPP funded)


Airbus has developed a solution for monitoring changes to buildings in urban and rural environments through the analysis of three- dimensional satellite data. The focus of this solution is to ensure that property records can be kept up to date to enable equitable property taxation to raise much-needed funds for developing cities.

GIS representation, by colour and vertical extent, of the property values for individual land parcels in Dakar

Solution benefits

  • Use of very high-resolution satellite Earth observation (EO) to monitor detailed change in the urban environment.
  • Identifies buildings and land parcels that have changed and directs fieldwork assessment for detailed property data collection.
  • Updated property details allow valuations to be kept aligned and remain current.
  • This valuation information feeds property taxation calculations enabling revenue to be collected by the national tax authorities.
  • Ensuring the property database is maintained and kept up to date, maximises revenue potential for the  benefit of local communities through the increased funding of local public services.
  • An up to date and equitable tax base linked to service development increases the willingness to pay amongst property owners.
  • This innovative technique to data updates has been shown to be more efficient and cost-effective than a purely manual, fieldwork-based approach.

Key technical features

  • Airbus commercial Pleiades satellite imagery used in tri-stereo mode allowing Digital Surface Models (DSM) to be created.
  • Land parcel maps created using open source GIS software and manual image interpretation with the work carried out by local teams trained by Airbus staff.
  • The land parcels created represent the base units that undergo change detection.
  • Change detection process identifies both two- dimensional and three-dimensional changes permitting the recognition of potential increases in the number of storeys.
  • Change process deployed as a web application on Airbus servers accessible anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Change results uploaded to mobile application on Android tablets for follow up field work.
  • Once field work is complete, updated property details are synchronised with central property database, allowing updated details to be used for valuation calculations.

Case studies

Airbus has deployed this solution in the Senegalese capital Dakar, supported by IPP. It can be applied to other cities in Senegal and globally. A team of local staff working for Airbus’ partner have created a land parcel map for the majority of the city. Key areas have then undergone the change detection process using multiple epochs of imagery, typically six months apart. The change results were verified in the field using a mobile tablet application, and property details collected enabling valuation calculations to be made and provided to the revenue authority.

Organisation overview

Airbus Defence and Space – Intelligence UK, provides satellite image acquisition and timely processing, interpretation, analysis and management, as well as hosting of geospatial data and consultancy services for many sectors including: central and local government, land administration, agriculture, forestry and the environment. Products and services delivered from our four UK offices provide solutions for our customer base around the globe.

New Africa Consulting (NAC) is a specialist in developing public-private partnership in Senegal. It was created as part of a commitment to the implementation of Africa’s key development strategies.