Google Earth Engine as Multi-Sensor Open-Source Tool for Supporting the Preservation of Archaeological Areas: The Case Study of Flood and Fire Mapping in Metaponto, Italy

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Mar 4;21(5):1791. doi: 10.3390/s21051791.


In recent years, the impact of Climate change, anthropogenic and natural hazards (such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, tsunamis, fires) has dramatically increased and adversely affected modern and past human buildings including outstanding cultural properties and UNESCO heritage sites. Research about protection/monitoring of cultural heritage is crucial to preserve our cultural properties and (with them also) our history and identity. This paper is focused on the use of the open-source Google Earth Engine tool herein used to analyze flood and fire events which affected the area of Metaponto (southern Italy), near the homonymous Greek-Roman archaeological site. The use of the Google Earth Engine has allowed the supervised and unsupervised classification of areas affected by flooding (2013-2020) and fire (2017) in the past years, obtaining remarkable results and useful information for setting up strategies to mitigate damage and support the preservation of areas and landscape rich in cultural and natural heritage.

Keywords: Google Earth Engine; Landsat 8; MODIS; Sentinel-1; Sentinel-2; cultural heritage; environment risks; flood; forest fire.