UK heads up satellite emergency initiative

The UK is taking charge of an international group providing satellite data to support disaster relief across the globe.

Nov 1, 2007
By Paul Jacques

The UK is taking charge of an international group providing satellite data to support disaster relief across the globe.

The British National Space Centre and DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) will lead the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ until April 2008.

The Charter was set up in 2000 to provide satellite data and imagery to help governments and aid agencies plan emergency relief following major disasters. It has provided valuable information to relief agencies after earthquakes, floods, landslides and volcanic eruptions.

When the Charter is activated, Earth observation satellites operated by 14 international organisations are made freely available. The satellites provide data which is then used to produce maps and other information for emergency response efforts.

The Charter was activated by the UK twice this summer following the floods in north and south west England. Satellite data and images were used to produce maps of the flooded areas to help the emergency services and Environment Agency assess the full extent of the damage.

Police used GIS software to obtain a greater perspective of the crisis and help guide the deployment of resources.

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