Geo4Nonpro Project

June 25, 2020

Geo4Nonpro was a CNS project that ran from 2016-2020 and united geospatial analysis hobbyists, experts, and novices to use satellite imagery to interpret, annotate, and discover insights into weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs around the world.


Satellite imagery used to be utilized exclusively by governments with advanced military capabilities, but decreasing price of commercial satellite imagery and the advancements in satellite technology make geospatial resources more accessible for a broader audience.

CNS researchers would launch semi-regular imagery “campaigns” for the crowd—comprising regional specialists, imagery analysts, and technical experts—to annotate satellite imagery of nonproliferation interest. Each campaign focused on an area of interest (AOI) and contained relevant commercial satellite imagery. Geo4nonpro users were able to explore layers of images from different dates with bands of non-visible light from different sensors and could also read expert analysis of select locations.

On June 16, 2018, CNS launched Geo4Nonpro 2.0 with the help of L3 Harris. The new version aimed to improve the user experience by renovating the layout of the website, making it easier to log-in and navigate, and streamlining the process by which users can explore and tag the satellite images. The pivot in the project’s second iteration was to focus on tool building to enable ease of use, while continuing to offer excellent, timely analysis. 2018-2020 saw innovative approaches to increasing user engagement as well as investigating potential machine learning applications with site annotations.

Campaigns from 2016-2020 included the following locations and facilities:

  • Korla Missile Test Complex, China
  • Shahrud Missile Test Facility, Iran
  • Sinpo Naval Shipyard, North Korea
  • Directorate of Defense Industries facilities, Myanmar
  • Suspected Enrichment Site, North Korea
  • Novaya Zemlya Nuclear Test Site, Russia
  • Kaliningrad Military Base, Russia
  • Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, North Korea
  • Hamhung, North Korea
  • Barzeh and Homs, Syria
  • Geo4Nonpro Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan
  • Pan’kovo, Russia
  • Pyongyang Biotechnical Institute, North Korea
  • Turamdih Uranium Mine and Mill, Banduhurang Mine, India
  • Pyongsan Uranium Mine, North Korea
  • Abdul Kalam Island, India
  • Al-Kibar Nuclear Reactor, Syria
  • Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant, China
  • Itaguai Naval Complex, Brazil
  • Nyonoksa Missile Testing Range, Russia
  • Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, Japan
  • Several geolocation challenges

CNS has appreciated the interest and engagement of all Geo4nonpro users over the years, and we hope eventually to host the site again.

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