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Sensing the ground: On the global politics of satellite-based activism

  • Delf Rothe (a1) and David Shim (a2)


In recent years, satellite imagery, previously restricted to the defence and intelligence communities, has been made available to a range of non-state actors as well. Non-governmental organisations, journalists, and celebrities such as George Clooney now use remote sensing data like digital Sherlock Holmeses to investigate and reveal human rights abuses, political violence, environmental destruction, and eco-crimes from a distance. It is often said that the increasing availability and applicability of remote sensing technologies has contributed to the rise of what can be called ‘satellite-based activism’ empowering non-state groups to challenge state practices of seeing and showing. In this article we argue that NGO activism is not challenging the sovereign gaze of the state but, on the contrary, actually reinforcing it. We will bolster our arguments in this regard in two prominent fields of non-governmental remote sensing: human rights and environmental governance.


Corresponding author

*Correspondence to: Dr Delf Rothe, Institut für Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik an der Universität Hamburg, Beim Schlump 83, 20144 Hamburg, Germany. Author’s email:
**Correspondence to: Dr David Shim, University of Groningen, Department of International Relations and International Organization, Oude Kijk int Jatstraat 26, 9712 EK, Groningen, The Netherlands. Author’s email:


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1 George Clooney, quoted in Satellite Sentinel Project (2017), ‘Our Story’, available at: {} accessed 24 February 2017.

2 Remote sensing, generally speaking, denotes the acquisition of information about an object, place, or phenomenon on the Earth’s surface by means of distant observation. These means comprise for instance (cameras and sensors mounted on) balloons, drones, planes, and satellites.

3 Raymond, Nathaniel A., Davies, Benjamin I., Card, Brittany L., Achkar, Ziad Al, and Baker, Isaac L., ‘While we watched: Assessing the impact of the Satellite Sentinel Project’, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 14:2 (2013), pp. 185191 (p. 186).

4 Ian Daly, ‘Can You Spot the Human-Rights Abuses Here?’ (19 March 2013), available at: {} accessed 19 September 2017.

5 See, for example, Baker, John C. and Williamson, Ray A., ‘Satellite imagery activism: Sharpening the focus on tropical deforestation’, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 27:1 (2006), pp. 414 ; Herscher, Andrew, ‘Surveillant witnessing: Satellite imagery and the visual politics of human rights’, Public Culture, 26:3 (2014), pp. 469500 ; Litfin, Karen T., ‘Public eyes: Satellite imagery, the globalization of transparency, and new networks of surveillance’, in James N. Rosenau and Jaswinder P. Singh (eds), Information Technologies and Global Politics: The Changing Scope of Power and Governance (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), pp. 6588 ; Aday, Sean and Livingston, Steven, ‘NGOs as intelligence agencies: the empowerment of transnational advocacy networks and the media by commercial remote sensing in the case of the Iranian Nuclear Program’, Geoforum, 40:4 (2009), pp. 514522 ; and Parks, Lisa, ‘Digging into Google Earth: an analysis of “Crisis in Darfur”’, Geoforum, 40:4 (2009), pp. 535545 .

6 Sending, Ole J. and Neumann, Iver B., ‘Governance to governmentality: Analyzing NGOs, states, and power’, International Studies Quarterly, 50:3 (2006), pp. 651672 . See also Collingwood, Vivien, ‘Non-governmental organisations, power and legitimacy in international society’, Review of International Studies, 32:3 (2006), pp. 439454 .

7 Bryan-Wilson, Julia, González, Jennifer, and Willsdon, Dominic, ‘Editors’ introduction: Themed issue on visual activism’, Journal of Visual Culture, 15:1 (2016), pp. 523 ; Baker and Williamson, ‘Satellite imagery activism’.

8 Perkins, Chris and Dodge, Martin, ‘Satellite imagery and the spectacle of secret spaces’, Geoforum, 40:4 (2009), pp. 546560 (p. 547).

9 See Hall, Rodney Bruce and Biersteker, Thomas J. (eds), The Emergence of Private Authority in Global Governance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Rosenau, James N. and Czempiel, Ernst-Otto, Governance Without Government: Order and Change in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1992); Rosenau, James N., ‘Toward an ontology for global governance’, in Martin Hewson and Timothy J. Sinclair (eds), Approaches to Global Governance Theory (Albany, NY: New York State University Press, 1999), pp. 287301 ; Scholte, Jan Aart, ‘Civil society and democratically accountable global governance’, Government and Opposition, 39:2 (2004), pp. 211233 .

10 Anheier, Helmut K., Kaldor, Mary, and Glasius, Marlies, ‘Introducing: Global civil society’, in Global Civil Society 2001 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 3653 ; Castells, Manuel, ‘The new public sphere: Global civil society, communication networks, and global governance’, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 616 (2008), pp. 7893 ; Katsikas, Dimitrios, ‘Non-state authority and global governance’, Review of International Studies, 36:S1 (2010), pp. 113135 ; Rosenau and Singh (eds), Information Technologies and Global Politics.

11 See Nina Witjes and Philipp Olbrich, ‘A fragile transparency: Satellite imagery analysis, non-state actors, and visual representations of security’, Science and Public Policy, early online (27 April 2017).

12 For human rights monitoring, see Parks, Lisa, ‘Satellite views of Srebrenica: Tele-visuality and the politics of witnessing’, Social Identities, 7:4 (2001), pp. 585611 ; Hasian, Marouf Jr, Forensic Rhetorics and Satellite Surveillance: The Visualization of War Crimes and Human Rights Violations (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016); Herscher, ‘Surveillant witnessing’. For environmental governance and management, see Baker and Williamson, ‘Satellite imagery activism’; Litfin, ‘Public eyes’; Jasanoff, Sheila, ‘Heaven and Earth: the politics of environmental images’, in Sheila Jasanoff and Marybeth Martello (eds), Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance (Boston: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 3152 ; William M. Adams, ‘Geographies of conservation II: Technology, surveillance and conservation by algorithm’, Progress in Human Geography, early online (5 November 2017).

13 See also Jackson, Patrick T., The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of Science and its Implications for the Study of World Politics (London: Routledge, 2010), p. 200 .

14 Amnesty International, ‘Remote Sensing for Human Rights’, available at: {} accessed 24 February 2017.

15 American Association for the Advancement of Science, ‘Geospatial Technologies Project’, available at: {} accessed 24 February 2017.

16 World Resources Institute, ‘Global Forest Watch: Monitoring Forests in Near Real Time’, available at: {} accessed 20 February 2017.

17 While we acknowledge the critical impact of organisations drawing upon other geospatial technologies like the Rainforest Foundation UK (in the field of deforestation) or the Missing Maps Project (in the field of humanitarian governance) these cannot be considered as examples of satellite-based activism in the narrow sense; available at: {}; {} both accessed 18 September 2017.

18 Rose, Gillian, Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials (London: Sage, 2016).

19 Rosenau, James N., ‘Governing the ungovernable: the challenge of a global disaggregation of authority’, Regulation & Governance, 1:1 (2007), pp. 8897 .

20 Castells, , ‘The new public sphere’; Manuel Castells, Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012); Rosenau and Singh (eds), Information Technologies and Global Politics.

21 For an exception to this, see Litfin, ‘Public eyes’.

22 Brannon, Monica M., ‘Standardized spaces: Satellite imagery in the age of Big Data’, Configurations, 21:3 (2013), pp. 271299 ; Parks, ‘Satellite views’.

23 Kenneth P. Thompson, ‘A Political History of US Commercial Remote Sensing, 1984–2007’ (PhD Thesis, Alexandria: Virginia State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 2007).

24 Today the satellite remote sensing industry is a massive and complex global market, with a projected size of US $2.6 billion by 2020. Available at: { Sensing_Market_Trends.asp} accessed 27 January 2017.

25 Litfin, ‘Public eyes’.

26 Mark Duffield, ‘Disaster-Resilience in the Network Age: Access-Denial and the Rise of Cyber-Humanitarianism’, DIIS Working Paper (2013).

27 Litfin, ‘Public eyes’; Elodie Convergne and Michael R. Snyder, ‘Will politics keep peacekeepers from harnessing satellite imagery?’, The Global Observatory (6 April 2015), available at: {} accessed 1 March 2017.

28 Baker and Williamson, ‘Satellite imagery activism’.

29 Different strands of critical scholarship in the humanities and social sciences address, like the present article, the politics of aerial vision and its counterhegemonic potential. These include feminist, postcolonial, surveillance, and visual studies. See, for example, Laura Kurgan, Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics (New York: Zone Books, 2013); Mirzoeff, Nicholas, The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011); Satia, Priya, ‘The pain of love: the invention of aerial surveillance in British Iraq’, in Peter Adey, Mark Whitehead, and Allison Williams (eds), From Above: War Violence, and Verticality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). While we acknowledge, and partly engage, their important contributions, we focus here on explicit debates on visual activism and non-governmental remote sensing, which so far have taken place mainly in geography.

30 Litfin, ‘Public eyes’, p. 65. See also Baker, John C., O’Connell, Kevin M., and Williamson, Ray A. (eds), Commercial Observation Satellites: At the Leading Edge of Global Transparency (Santa Monica: RAND, 2001).

31 Aday and Livingston, ‘NGOs as intelligence agencies’, p. 515.

32 Campbell, David and Power, Marcus, ‘The scopic regime of Africa’, in Fraser MacDonald, Klaus J. Dodds, and Rachel Hughes (eds), Observant States: Geopolitics and Visual Culture (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010), pp. 167198 .

33 Kurgan, Close Up at a Distance; Tidy, Joanna, ‘Visual regimes and the politics of war experience: Rewriting war “from above” in WikiLeaks’ “Collateral Murder”’, Review of International Studies, 43:1 (2017), pp. 95111 (p. 102).

34 Perkins and Dodge, ‘Satellite imagery’, p. 548.

35 On the debate on the knowledge politics of satellite remote sensing see, for example, Campbell, David, ‘Tele-vision: Satellite images and security’, Source, 56 (2008), pp. 1623 ; Crampton, Jeremy W., Mapping: A Critical Introduction to Cartography and GIS (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010); Dodge, Martin and Perkins, Chris, ‘The “view from nowhere?” Spatial politics and cultural significance of high-resolution satellite imagery’, Geoforum, 40:4 (2009), pp. 497501 ; Elwood, Sarah, ‘Geographic information science: New geovisualization technologies – emerging questions and linkages with GIScience research’, Progress in Human Geography, 33:2 (2009), pp. 256263 ; Harley, J. Brian, ‘Maps, knowledge and power’, in Denis Cosgrove and Stephen Daniels (eds), The Iconography of Landscape (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1988), pp. 277312 ; Parks, Lisa, Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005).

36 Litfin, ‘Public eyes’, p. 67. Further questions that point to the epistemological problems of satellite imagery are for instance: what does a satellite image tell us about the intentions of an actor? How can we ensure the ‘proper’ interpretation of satellite images when they lack any inherent meaning? What is a ‘correct’ interpretation? Who decides whether these media are compelling sources or nothing but an artificial view constructed from outer space? See also Shim, David, ‘Satellites’, in Roland Bleiker (ed.), Visual Global Politics (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 265–71.

37 The counterhegemonic potential of remote sensing technologies, as one reviewer rightfully suggested, directly speaks to the notion of ‘sousveillance’ – a concept that denotes the inverse surveillance of the powerful (the state) by the powerless (the individual). See, for instance, Mann, Steve, Nolan, Jason, and Wellmann, Barry, ‘Sousveillance: Inventing and using wearable computing devices for data collection in surveillance environments’, Surveillance & Society, 1:3 (2002), pp. 331355 , who speak of ‘surveilling the surveillers’. The examples discussed here complicate the understanding of sousveillance. On the one hand, satellite-based activism can be regarded as a form of sousveillance, because it contests state practices of looking. On the other hand, however, those monitored states are all from the Global South. These are watched by influential and potent organisations from the Global North. ‘Sousveillant’ satellite activism is hence characterised by a neocolonial rationality, which permits surveillance only of certain geographies in the Global South.

38 See also Butler, Judith, ‘Torture and the ethics of photography’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 25:6 (2007), pp. 951966 ; Van Veeren, Elspeth, ‘Captured by the camera’s eye: Guantánamo and the shifting frame of the Global War on Terror’, Review of International Studies, 37:4 (2011), pp. 17211749 .

39 Geographic information systems (GIS) are computer-based tools that allow for the generation, management, analysis, and display of spatial data. GIS essentially connect data with geography, and thus help to locate events and developments on maps (mapping tool).

40 AI, ‘Remote Sensing for Human Rights: Eyes on Darfur’, available at: {} accessed 27 February 2017.

41 AAAS, Geospatial Technologies Project.

42 The diagrams presented in Figures 1 and 3 are based upon our analysis of the web-repository of AI and AAAS human rights remote sensing projects, available at: {} accessed 21 September 2017. The repository provided detailed reports for every remote sensing project. We compiled these reports and analysed them along the line of the following categories: subject under investigation (types of human rights abuse), regional focus, actors involved, methods applied, and imagery/data sources. We do not claim objective representation of the human rights remote sensing field with these graphs. Obviously, diagrams like the ones used here always involve subjective decisions and thus highlight certain aspects of reality while leaving out others. Nevertheless, the figures provide a comprehensive and accessible overview of the complex field of human rights remote sensing in a way that a mere textual description could not achieve.

43 AI, ‘Technology for Human Rights: Evaluation of the Science for Human Rights Project 2008–2011: Executive Summary’, available at: {} accessed 28 February 2017.

44 Ibid.

45 AAAS, ‘Human Rights Applications of Remote Sensing’, available at: {} accessed 28 February 2017.

46 AI, ‘Technology for Human Rights: Evaluation of the Science for Human Rights Project 2008–2011: Executive Summary’.

47 AI, ‘Remote Sensing for Human Rights’.

48 Cited in Herscher, ‘Surveillant witnessing’, p. 486.

49 See, for example, O’Connell, Tommy and Young, Stephen, ‘No more hidden secrets: Human rights violations and remote sensing’, Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, 8:3 (2014), pp. 531 ; Wolfinbarger, Susan R., ‘Remote sensing as a tool for human rights fact-finding’, in Philip Alston and Sarah Knuckey (eds), The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 464487 .

50 See, for example, Brown, Wendy, ‘Suffering the paradoxes of rights’, in Wendy Brown and Janet Halley (eds), Left Legalism/Left Critique (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002), pp. 420434 ; Kennedy, David W., ‘The international human rights regime: Still part of the problem?’, Harvard Human Rights Journal, 14:2 (2002), pp. 101125 ; Mégret, Frédéric, ‘Do facts exist, can they be “found”, and does it matter?’, in Alston and Knuckey (eds), The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding, pp. 2748 ; Mutua, Makau W., ‘Savages, victims, and saviors: the metaphor of human rights’, Harvard International Law Journal, 42:1 (2001), pp. 201245 ; Sharp, Dustin N., ‘Human rights fact-finding and the reproduction of hierarchies’, in Alston and Knuckey (eds), The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding, pp. 69-87 .

51 See Shim, David, ‘Remote sensing place: Satellite images as visual spatial imaginaries’, Geoforum, 51:1 (2014), pp. 152160 .

52 Marx, Andrew and Goward, Samuel, ‘Remote sensing in human rights and international humanitarian law monitoring: Concepts and methods’, Geographical Review, 103:1 (2013), pp. 100111 ; O’Connell and Young, ‘No more’; Wolfinbarger, ‘Remote sensing’.

53 For example, this is illustrated by Adrian Myers, who used the satellite imagery of Google Earth for a virtual investigation of the Camp Delta prison camp at Guantánamo Bay – certainly one of the most sensitive spaces of US security interests. Myers, Adrian, ‘Camp Delta, Google Earth and the ethics of remote sensing in archaeology’, World Archaeology, 42:3 (2010), pp. 455467 . See also Parks, Lisa, ‘Zeroing in: Overhead imagery, infrastructure ruins, and datalands in Afghanistan and Iraq’, in Jeremy Packer and Stephen B. Crofts Wiley (eds), Communication Matters: Materialist Approaches to Media, Mobility and Networks (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 7892 .

54 AAAS, ‘Lebanon: Destruction in Civilian Areas Case Study Report’ (last update 5 August 2016), available at: {} accessed 27 February 2017. In Israel, the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year prevents the commercial distribution of any high-resolution satellite imagery of Israeli territory.

55 Trevor Paglen’s work is a good example by which to illustrate this claim. Paglen uses visual media to make visible secrets sites of the US government – CIA prisons, listening stations, and military bases – thereby contesting hegemonic state as well as non-state practices of (not) showing spaces of exclusion. Paglen’s work is available at: {} accessed 27 February 2017.

56 McLagan, Meg and McKee, Yates (eds), Sensible Politics: The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism (New York: Zone Books, 2012).

57 See also Hevia, James, ‘The photography complex: Exposing Boxer China, making civilization (1900–1901)’, in Rosalind Morris (ed.), Photographies East: The Camera and its Histories in East and Southeast Asia (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), pp. 79119 .

58 Poole, Deborah, Vision, Race, and Modernity: A Visual Economy of the Andean Image World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997).

59 Dodge, and Perkins, , ‘The “view from nowhere?”’, pp. 497501 (p. 498); Brannon, , ‘Standardized spaces’, p. 273 .

60 Parks, ‘Digging into Google Earth’, p. 541.

61 It could of course acquire imagery that is already available in the image archives of satellite businesses or resellers such as Harris MapMart, available at: {} accessed 27 February 2017. Yet, as mentioned, the stock of available imagery is highly fragmented so that it is hugely improbable that the required one is already available.

62 AAAS, ‘High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and the Conflict in South Ossetia’ (2008 [last updated 5 August 2016]), available at: {} accessed 27 February 2017.

63 Google Earth Outreach, ‘United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Darfur-Crisis’, available at: {} accessed 27 February 2017.

64 Campbell, David, ‘Geopolitics and visuality: Sighting the Darfur conflict’, Political Geography, 26:4 (2007), pp. 357382 ; Mitchell, William J. T., ‘Showing seeing: a critique of visual culture’, Journal of Visual Culture, 1:2 (2002), pp. 165181 .

65 See Herscher, ‘Surveillant witnessing’.

66 Campbell and Power, ‘The scopic regime of Africa’.

67 See DeLoughrey, Elizabeth, ‘Satellite planetarity and the ends of the Earth’, Public Culture, 26:2 (2014), pp. 257280 ; Jasanoff, ‘Heaven and Earth’; Cosgrove, Denis, ‘Images and imagination in 20th-century environmentalism: From the Sierras to the Poles’, Environment and Planning A, 40:8 (2008), pp. 18621880 .

68 Rothe, Delf, ‘Seeing like a satellite: Remote sensing and the ontological politics of environmental security’, Security Dialogue, 48:4 (2017), pp. 334353 .

69 Adams, ‘Geographies of conservation II’; Baker and Williamson, ‘Satellite imagery activism’, p. 2; Litfin, ‘Public eyes’; Thompson, A Political History.

70 See Baker and Williamson, ‘Satellite imagery activism’, p. 10.

71 Global Forest Watch (GFW), ‘The GFW Partnership’, available at: {} accessed 27 February 2017.

72 Litfin, ‘Public eyes’, p. 83.

73 Parks, ‘Digging into Google Earth’, p. 537.

74 Litfin, ‘Public eyes’, p. 85.

75 With this feature GFW follows a broader trend towards volunteered geographic information, participatory mapping, and citizen science. A good example of this trend in the field of deforestation is the Rainforest Foundation UK. The latter uses participatory mapping to help indigenous communities in rainforests creating an awareness for their rights and articulating social and political demands, see Rainforest Foundation UK: {}. Here, geospatial technologies are used to create novel understandings of the problem of deforestation and empower local communities. The participatory element of the GFW, on the contrary, is limited and artificial: it only allows users to map a story onto a pregiven, Western representation of deforestation (see next section). It thus comes as no surprise that most user stories are copy-and-pasted parts of academic publications and NGO/think tank papers rather than views of affected populations. See: {} accessed 28 August 2017.

76 Crystal Davies, ‘Tackling the Forest Information Problem with Global Forest Watch’, GFW blog post (21 March 2014), available at: {} accessed 24 February 2017.

77 Patrick Goymer, ‘Forest vision’, Nature Ecology & Evolution, early online (21 February 2017).

78 USAID, ‘Satellite Data for the People: USAID Supports Launch of New Forest Watch Tool’, USAID Impact blog, available at: {} accessed 22 February 2017.

79 See Bäckstrand, Karin and Lövbrand, Eva, ‘Planting trees to mitigate climate change: Contested discourses of ecological modernization, green governmentality and civic environmentalism’, Global Environmental Politics, 6 (2006), pp. 5075 ; Stephan, Benjamin, ‘How to trade “not cutting down trees”: a governmentality perspective on the commodification of avoided deforestation’, in Chris Methmann, Delf Rothe, and Benjamin Stephan (eds), (De-)Constructing the Greenhouse: Interpretive Approaches to Global Climate Governance (London: Routledge, 2013), pp. 5771 .

80 See Brannon, ‘Standardized spaces’.

81 Ibid., p. 296.

82 See Goymer, ‘Forest vision’.

83 Davies, ‘Tackling the forest information problem’.

84 Nancy Harris and Donna Lee, ‘Climate Change Solutions: Bringing Forests to the Centre Stage’, Global Forest Watch blog (21 August 2017), available at {} accessed 28 August 2017.

85 See Oels, Angela, ‘Rendering climate change governable: From biopower to advanced liberal government?’, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 7:3 (2005), pp. 185207 ; Luke, Timothy W., ‘Eco-managerialism: Environmental studies as power/knowledge formation’, in Frank Fischer and Maarten Hajer (eds), Living With Nature: Environmental Politics as Cultural Discourse (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 103120 .

86 Paterson, Matthew and Stripple, Johannes, ‘My space: Governing individuals’ carbon emissions’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28:2 (2010), pp. 341362 ; Stephan, ‘How to trade’.

87 Bäckstrand and Lövbrand, ‘Planting trees’; Stephan, ‘How to trade’; McGregor, Andrew, Challies, Edward, Howson, Peter, Astuti, Rini, Dixon, Rowan, Haalboom, Bethany, Gavin, Michael, Tacconi, Luca, and Afiff, Suraya, ‘Beyond carbon, more than forest? REDD+ governmentality in Indonesia’, Environment and Planning A, 47:1 (2015), pp. 138155 .

88 Stephan, , ‘How to trade’, p. 62 .

89 See Nancy Harris and Fred Stolle, ‘Forests Are in the Paris Agreement! Now What?’, WRI blog (5 January 2016) available at: {} accessed 27 February 2017.

90 Ibid.

91 See: {} accessed 24 February 2017.

92 See GFW Fires, available at: {} accessed 24 February 2017.

93 See GFW Fires (fn. 92).

94 For comparison: Google Earth draws on Landsat satellite imagery with a spatial resolution of approximately 15 meters/pixel.

95 Jamie Gibson and Alicia Arenzana, ‘Who Watches the (Global Forest) Watchmen’, Vizzuality blog (14 September 2015), available at {} accessed 28 August 2017.

96 See Hartmann, Betsy, ‘Converging on disaster: Climate security and the Malthusian anticipatory regime for Africa’, Geopolitics, 19:4 (2014), pp. 757783 ; Rothe, Delf, Securitizing Global Warming: A Climate of Complexity (London; New York: Routledge), pp. 126127 .

97 See Harwell, Emily, ‘Remote sensibilities: Discourses of technology and the making of Indonesia’s natural disaster’, Development and Change, 31:1 (2000), pp. 307340 .

98 See, for example, the Forensic Architecture Project led by scholar-activist Eyal Weizman, See: {} accessed 23 February 2017 or the Rainforest Foundation UK mentioned above (see fn. 75).

99 Sophie Hackford, ‘Virtual Reality is Going to Become a Surveillance Universe’, Science Focus (16 February 2017), available at: {} accessed 23 February 2017.

100 Elkins, James, Visual Literacy (London: Routledge, 2009).


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Sensing the ground: On the global politics of satellite-based activism

  • Delf Rothe (a1) and David Shim (a2)


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