Senior Geospatial Analyst At Human Rights Watch

Senior Geospatial Analyst
Digital Investigations Lab
Multiple Locations Considered
Application Deadline: May 8, 2022

The Technology and Human Rights Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW) is seeking a full-time geospatial analyst to provide remote sensing, GIS and field data collection support for research on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law to join its Digital Investigations Lab. This position reports to the Managing Director of the Digital Investigations Lab. The position may be based in any of HRW’s global office.

Due to COVID-19, however, many of our global offices are currently closed or operating in reduced capacities. The successful candidate may be required to work remotely initially or if local requirements mandate it. We recognize that this moment, during the pandemic, is a uniquely difficult time for most people, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, and we aim to be as flexible and supportive as possible in both the recruitment for and onboarding of this position.


  1. In collaboration with colleagues in the Digital Investigations Lab and across HRW, lead on and take an active part in the identification of satellite data and analysis needs for on-going and future human rights investigations in collaboration with HRW research teams
  2. Select and order satellite data from commercial providers and scientific agencies;
  3. Process, transfer, store and maintain satellite and related geospatial datasets into the organization’s internal and cloud-based servers;
  4. Conduct primary research with active and passive satellite and drone sensor data using a range of remote sensing methods, including photointerpretation, pixel and object-based classification, coherence change detection and related fuzzy modelling and regression routines;
  5. Conduct spatiotemporal analysis of satellite-derived vector datasets
  6. Write up findings and analysis in a concise and accurate manner, in accordance with guidance provided by Human Rights Watch.
  7. Conduct expert review of work related to geospatial analysis as requested and required.
  8. In collaboration with HRW’s Communications and Publications Divisions provide accurately and timely geospatial research products including maps, satellite derived products and related geographic datasets
  9. Support Deep Learning / AI projects on remotely sensed data;
  10. Support the design and implementation of online mapping projects and services;
  11. In collaboration with Digital Investigations Lab colleagues, support the collection and processing of unstructured social media data sources for geospatial modelling, verification and related forensic activities;
  12. Produce photogrammetric products, including orthomosaics, DTMs and 3D site models from drone and field imagery;
  13. Script Python code for specialized image and vector research applications;
  14. Evaluate quality and potential relevancy of geographic datasets from external agencies and local human rights partners;
  15. Provide training and technical support to Researchers for field data collection and other geospatial topics, including the use of mobile apps and geographically-enabled devices;
  16. Review and evaluate planned and newly launched satellite sensors for potential research applications;
  17. Conduct academic and industry literature reviews on relevant geospatial topics;
  18. Participate in relevant technical and human rights meetings and conferences; and
  19. Perform other duties, as required – including involvement in strategy development, taking part in media interviews, and fundraising activities


Candidate Profile
The successful candidate will be an established geospatial/GIS professional, and will ideally have some experience utilizing geospatial/GIS technology in human rights investigations. Bearing that in mind, the below qualifications (educational, experience, and key skills/abilities) represent what we think is necessary to succeed in this role. Candidates who are traditionally underrepresented in the technology and/or human rights sectors (such as people who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, women, migrants, people with disabilities, or people who have other related lived experiences) are enthusiastically encouraged to apply if they feel they have the ability to succeed in this role, even if they do not have all of the skills and qualifications listed below.

Education: A bachelor’s or technical college degree in remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS) or equivalent industry studies, is required; An advanced (graduate) degree is desirable.

Experience: A minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience is required.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

  1. Proficiency, experience and/or familiarity with the following technical software and tools is desirable, but it is not required or expected that applicants have all the skills and knowledge described below:
    • ESRI ArcGIS software, ArcGIS Server and Online;
    • PYTHON scripting, familiarity with ArcGIS API for Python;

ENVI/ ERDAS IMAGINE /SNAP or equivalent remote sensing software packages;
• Photointerpretation of very high-resolution satellite data;
• Change detection and territorial monitoring
• Cloud-based analytical tools and services, including Google Earth Engine;
• Photogrammetric software including Pix4D;
• Deep Learning and AI applications;
• Commercial and scientific satellite sensors (multispectral and SAR); and
• IMINT, GEOINT concepts.

  1. An understanding of the principles of analysis of satellite images and willingness to learn new skills is required.
  2. The ability to multi-task effectively, including having strong planning and organizing skills, and ability to work well under pressure are required.
  3. The ability to prioritize tasks with minimal supervision and work independently as well as function as a member of a diverse team with staff in multiple locations globally is required.
  4. Proficiency in English (CEFR C1 / C2) is required. Proficiency in other languages is highly desirable.
  5. Visual communication skills are highly desirable.
  6. Ability to explain verbally and in writing complex technical subjects clearly, compellingly and respectfully to non-specialist audiences, including colleagues, policymakers, and the public is desirable.
  7. A demonstrated experience of successfully collaborating on research projects that integrate geospatial analysis both across organisations and in collaboration with other organisations.
  8. Experience working with non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations is desirable.
  9. A demonstrated interest and activity in international human rights is desirable.

Salary and Benefits: HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. HRW offers a relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds based anywhere to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

How to apply

How to Apply: Please apply immediately by visiting our online job portal at No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission, or if you require a disability-related accommodation, please email Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.