Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Bonfires in Belfast - 11th/12th July 2017

I was dissapointed to find that there are very few Sentinel 2 or Landsat 8 night-time satellite images available over Ireland. Apparently you have to request it for Landsat and the S2 data acquisition plan doesn't currently capture any imagery at night. I wanted to see what the 11th night celebrations look like from space. After asking on ResearchGate I was directed back to the NASA firemapping service which I wrote about in May and had already forgotten about. Although the imagery is of a much coarser spatial resloution than the Sentinel or Landsat missions there are quite a number of hotspots visible all over the place - plus I have checked them against demographics/electoral districts and they seem to line up quite closely.

Hotspots picked out from space

Unionist majority areas most likely to celebrate the 11th/12th with a bonfire

Update: This imagery got me wondering what use they might be to me - they very clearly line up with the unionist demographics of the area (unsurprisingly) but correlating bonfire number/intensity versus turnout was one potential test, and for any previous elections post-July 12th could you use the fires to predict the turnout? The nationalist community internment remembrance bonfires are also due soon so it is a potential dataset for both communities...

Update: I've had a look again this morning (15th Aug) but the weather was too bad (almost 100% cloud cover)  so no visible August bonfires unfortunately. 

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About Me

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My name is Conor. I am a Lecturer at the Department of Geography at Maynooth University. These few lines will (hopefully) chart my progress through academia and the world of research.