Automating Glacier Mapping of Ladakh using Satellite Imagery

Local Chapter Ladakh, India Chapter

Coordinated byIndia ,

Status: Completed

Project Duration: 05 Aug 2023 - 16 Sep 2023

Open Source resources available from this project

Project background.

Trans-Himalayan Ladakh is sensitive to various factors including impacts of climate change such as global warming. The majority of the population of Ladakh is dependent on the Cryosphere-fed water for sustenance, particularly surface water yield through glaciers. According to many reports, the glaciers and snow-cover of the region are witnessing an alarming retreat at more than 6% per year as a result of global warming, and some glaciers like the Puche are advancing due to historical factors. Time series mapping of glaciers is essential to monitor Cryopheric resources in Ladakh, so that water availability may be projected for future planning and management of water for Ladakh’s communities.

The problem.

There are several temporal inventories of Ladakh’s glaciers (e.g. ‘Multitemporal glacier inventory revealing four decades of glacier changes in the Ladakh region’ by Soheb et al. 2022) and other regional/global inventories (e.g. Randolph Glacier Inventory, NSIDC World Glacier Inventory, etc.) that cover the region. However, efficient time series (annual) mapping of glaciers with the least uncertainty and a focus on debris-covered glaciers is much needed at this time. The results will add to developing strategies to mitigate the adverse impact of the climate crisis.
This initiative’s goal is to build tools for the temporal mapping of glaciers with high precision using satellite imagery. Ultimately, it is expected that a GIS dashboard will be created to produce a glacier map of Ladakh. The larger aim of the project is to help connect local communities, regional administration, and academia with AI tools and help develop ways to efficiently manage water resources as we face challenges posed by the current and urgent climate crisis. The project will have an exclusive focus on identifying and addressing the problems faced by Ladakh’s communities.

Project goals.

The goals of this challenge are:- Create a knowledge base of the water-related problems faced by the local communities of Ladakh. - Build an open-source GIS dashboard for the glaciers of Ladakh. - Set up a data retrieval API for satellite images.

Project plan.

  • Week 1

    Gather facts about Ladakh’s water issues, gather satellite data sources, explore glacier inventories

  • Week 2

    Exploring and understanding available data

  • Week 3

    Data labelling and model training

  • Week 4

    Model testing and evaluation

  • Week 5

    Build API and dashboard

  • Week 6

    Integrating products and writing the project report

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