DigitalGlobe Foundation Grant Supports Sand Dredging Research Project

Hexagon Geospatial is committed to the success of our students and the future of geospatial technology. That is why we teamed with the DigitalGlobe Foundation to provide licenses of our industry-leading software and high-accuracy, high-resolution satellite imagery to applicants with approved grants.

Grant winner, Lukas Traup is a graduate student in the Faculty for Environment and Natural Resources at the Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg.

Lukas conducted his research as part of our partnership with the DigitalGlobe Foundation, providing him access to the Hexagon Geospatial Community and tutorials from Hexagon Geospatial U, in addition to Hexagon Geospatial software and DigitalGlobe imagery.

Lukas’s project was focused on sand dredging in the Koh Kong Delta in Cambodia. His research focuses on creating a web GIS application for the geo-temporal visualization of sand dredging activities and its impacts. Lukas used ERDAS IMAGINE to manipulate data that could later be displayed in the Web GIS. He goes more in depth about his research in his abstract below.


Sand is considered the most extracted resource worldwide and an essential element in the construction industry. Especially fluvial sands are in high demand; their extraction though is connected to severe impacts on the environment. Due to the rapid urban development in many countries in South East Asia, rivers have been increasingly under pressure during the past decade, as they serve as extraction sites for sand. Especially Cambodia stands out as a major exporter of fluvial sands which is done at expenses of the environment. Due to the largescale changes that have been caused in only a short period of time on many sites, it is necessary to implement documentation and monitoring strategies – but so far, only little efforts have been made in this regard. These strategies could facilitate a better regulation of sand dredging, as the impact patterns are better understood and brought to a greater public, which could promote a policy change to a rather sustainable implementation of sand mining. This thesis illustrates and evaluates applicable monitoring and documentation strategies of sand dredging, with an emphasis on remote sensing techniques. Besides this, an exemplary remote sensing approach has been applied to assess and visualize sand dredging activities and impacts in the Koh Kong Delta, Cambodia on a spatiotemporal scale. Twelve high resolution satellite images have been collected. These were analyzed for alterations and characteristics. The results showed a significant decline of three major sandbars as well as riverbank erosion on three sites. Afterwards the detected features were further processed to outline alterations. Finally, the extracted features were used to create a Web GIS application, which interactively displays the temporal scale of sand dredging in the Koh Kong Delta between 2005 and 2017.

If you are interested in the entire thesis, please contact Lukas at View the interactive map showing the major transformations of the Koh Kong Delta.

We would like to thank Lukas for participating in our grant program and for innovating with Hexagon Geospatial software. If you are interested in applying for a grant with the DigitalGlobe Foundation visit our website for more information.

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