Wild Buildings in the Balkans - Using drones and GIS to identify illegal buildings in Galicica National Park, North Macedonia
Senior Project Advisor
Galicica National Park, Drones, GIS, Wild Buildings, North Macedonia, Unplanned Urban Development
Galicica National Park is an ecological and cultural treasure located in the country of North Macedonia. About 70% of the park’s territory is on the UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage List. The national park faces a unique threat from the presence of “wild buildings” -- unauthorized constructions built without proper permits, making them illegal. This study employed a GIS-based approach, utilizing drone technology, to identify and evaluate the legality of buildings within the park. After formatting aerial images captured by the drone, 18 study areas were imported into GIS software for digitization. Using data from the Agency for Real Estate Cadaster in North Macedonia, the legal status of each digitized buildings was assessed. Of the digitized buildings, 38% were found to be illegal. These findings underscore the urgency of addressing illegal constructions, not only to protect Galicica National Park’s UNESCO status, but also to address broader urban development challenges in North Macedonia. The project contributes valuable insights for policymakers and conservation efforts in the region.
Foster, Marko, "Wild Buildings in the Balkans - Using drones and GIS to identify illegal buildings in Galicica National Park, North Macedonia" (2023). WWU Honors College Senior Projects. 764.
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