Since the 1997 Handover from United Kingdom to China, Hong Kong 1 July March has been the largest civil movement in HK. As the activity became more like a protest, instead of the celebration of “Return”, in recent years, the number of attendees is concerned. However, the counting varies from different sources. Which is accurate?
To have a more reliable and independent stats of the rally, South China Morning Post commissioned land surveyor, Thomas Lee, and his professional team, Star Vision, Supergeo partner in HK, to calculate the total participants with latest geospatial technologies.
Star Vision team utilized remote sensing technique to take aerial photos from 3 different locations of the march route, as well as applied GIS and analysis software to obtain average density of the crowd. The GIS software, SuperGIS Desktop, measured the total area of rally route which was 57,876 square meters.
By multiplying the average density with the total area, and considering the average time to finish the route in different locations, the calculated attendee numbers should be 140,408, which are higher than the police calculation, 98,600, and lower than the event organizer claimed, 510,000.
With professional GIS and RS technologies, surveyors can accurately calculate the density and display the distribution of the crowd, so that the actual situation can be reflected in a scientific way. GIS can not only be applied to geospatial domains for increasing work efficiency, but also contribute to a trustworthy record to assist civil rights and democracy development.
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