Juba – boom town

From a remote sensing perspective, being in Juba in 2007 was slightly frustrating: although Google Earth covered South Sudan’s capital with a hi-res QuickBird image, it remained stubbornly in 2003. Sometime during 2010 however it was updated, to a 2009 GeoEye image. Comparing the two shows just how dramatic the urban sprawl has been.

click for full size

Google Earth image from 5 Dec 2003 (QuickBird)

Google Earth image from 16 March 2009 (GeoEye)

In fact, most of the growth in this patch has been post-2007: when I left then, the situation was much as shown on the 2003 picture, so most of the building has taken place in just two years.

Note that the US consular swimming pool, in the leafy compound  south-centre of the image, is visible in both, a reflection perhaps of American intrests in the area!

Update, 11 February 2011:

Google has just added some recent imagery from GeoEye to its Earth servers: very recent, in fact, from 30th January 2011, covering several parts of Southern Sudan. In Juba, the clearest change since the 2009 imagery (above) is the colour of the roads. Red has turned to grey: the seemingly endless construction programme has resulted in a lot of paved surfaces. It’s not just the airport road, but all of the main routes around town. A lot less dust in the air, I imagine.

Google Earth image from 30 January 2011 (GeoEye)


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