Radar satellites are able to peer through clouds, which is an asset when weather conditions prevent the use of optical satellite instruments. Radar imagery can be used to identify hazards such as landslides that may be triggered by earthquakes. In the long term, radar data can also be processed to map surface deformations caused by earthquakes to help scientists understand better seismic events.
The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security's SAFER project is collaborating with the Charter to provide a specialised capacity to produce damage maps over the area. SAFER's value-adding providers SERTIT from Strasbourg and the German Aerospace Centre's (DLR) centre for satellite-based crisis information (ZKI) from Munich are currently working on this.
In the framework of SAFER, other user organisations, including the German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance and the UN World Food Programme, have requested damage-mapping services. Based on the collaboration between the Charter and SAFER, the first space-maps derived from crisis data acquired on 13 January were produced by SERTIT within 24 hours as rapid situation maps to help locate damaged areas with up-to-date cartographic material.
Together with ESA and CNES, the Charter, founded in 2000, currently has 10 members: the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Argentine Space Agency (CONAE), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the British National Space Centre/Disaster Monitoring Constellation (BNSC/DMC), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the China National Space Administration (CNSA).
Via the Charter mechanism, all of these agencies have committed to provide free and unrestricted access to their space assets to support relief efforts in the immediate aftermath of a major disaster.
|Contact: Robert Meisner|
European Space Agency