On the use of RADARSAT-1 for monitoring malaria risk in Kenya

S. G. Ross, M. C. Thomson, T. Pultz, C. M. Mbogo, J. L. Regens, C. Swalm, J. Githure, G. Yan, W. Gu, J. C. Beier

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The incidence and spread of vector-borne infectious diseases are increasing concerns in many parts of the world. Earth observation techniques provide a recognised means for monitoring and mapping disease risk as well as correlating environmental indicators with various disease vectors. Because the areas most impacted by vector-borne disease are remote and not easily monitored using traditional, labour intensive survey techniques, high spatial and temporal coverage provided by spaceborne sensors allows for the investigation of large areas in a timely manner. However, since the majority of infectious diseases occur in tropical areas, one of the main barriers to earth observation techniques is persistent cloud-cover. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology offers a solution to this problem by providing all-weather, day and night imaging capability. Based on SAR's sensitivity to target moisture conditions, sensors such as RADARSAT-1 can be readily used to map wetland and swampy areas that are conducive to functioning as aquatic larval habitats. Irrigation patterns, deforestation practises and the effects of local flooding can be monitored using SAR imagery, and related to potential disease vector abundance and proximity to populated areas. This paper discusses the contribution of C-band radar remote sensing technology to monitoring and mapping malaria. Preliminary results using RADARSAT-1 for identifying areas of high mosquito (Anopheles gambiae s.l.) abundance along the Kenya coast will be discussed. The authors consider the potential of RADARSAT-1 data based on SAR sensor characteristics and the preliminary results obtained. Further potential of spaceborne SAR data for monitoring vector-borne disease is discussed with respect to future advanced SAR sensors such as RADARSAT-2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number475
StatePublished - Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes
Event3th International Symposiumon Retrieval of Bio- and Geophysical Parameters from SAR Data for Land Applications - Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: Sep 11 2001Sep 14 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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