In the central Andes mountains, satellites have detected ground deformation under way above a major subterranean magma body. The Altiplano–Puna volcanic province is part of an active volcanic arc in South America’s central Andes. Extending through Peru, southwestern Bolivia, Chile and northwestern Argentina, it is home to a number of large calderas formed following catastrophic eruptions. Beneath the surface of Altiplano–Puna, about 17–19 km deep, lies the largest known active magma body in Earth’s continental crust.
The Chilean Space Agency belongs to the Chilean Ministry of National Defence. It facilitates the development of space based-information and technology for the application in different national activities. It promotes the use of geospatial technologies for the benefit of public policy and the economic and social development of the country, including the regional integration. Website: http://www.agenciaespacial.cl/
The Chilean National Office for Emergency is part of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security. It is in charge of coordinating the National Civil Protection System. The mission of ONEMI is to plan, prompt, articulate and execute
The SNIT is part of the Chilean Ministry of National Assets. One of the main goals of the SNIT is to make available public geospatial information to citizens and diverse organizations for decision-making. The SNIT is a permanent mechanism of institutional coordination created to optimize the management of geospatial information in Chile. The SNIT is the focal point for National Geospatial Data Infrastructure.
The Ministry of National Assets is in charge of recognizing, managing and administrating the fiscal patrimony of all Chileans, maintaining the cadastre of the state property to date. It develops, in coordination with other state agencies, policies about the use and incorporation of the fiscal patrimony to promote a sustainable economic, social and cultural development of the country. Website: http://www.bienesnacionales.cl/
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the State Office responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, executing and disseminating Foreign Policy as determined by the President of the Republic. It is also responsible for coordinating the activities of other ministries and public organizations in those areas that affect foreign policy. In addition, it intervenes in all matters pertaining to the determination and demarcation of the country’s borders and limits, as well as issues concerning border zones, airspace, maritime zones and Antarctic policy.
Chile is exposed to a variety of hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, forest fires, floods, and droughts. Chile has been impacted by some of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in recent history. For a large earthquake in February 2010 the International Charter: Space and Major Disaster was activated, and UN-SPIDER was requested to provide support. To follow up on this support, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested a UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission in March 2010.
Mon, 15/03/2010 to Sun, 21/03/2010
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile
David Stevens, UN-SPIDER
The mission included meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Assets, the National System for the Coordination of Territorial Information, the National Office for Emergency of the Ministry of the Interior (ONEMI), the Space Commission of Chile, and other government agencies. The mission also included a field visit to the regions of Talca and Constitucion, which were heavily impacted by both the earthquake and the tsunami.
In addition, the mission included follow-up meetings in Washington D.C. with representatives of the World Bank, and with government agencies of the United States (Department of State, US Agency for International Aid (USAID), US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USOFDA) and NASA), as well as with representatives from Thermopylae Sciences and Technology, a consulting company providing support to US Southern Command.
ONEMI has a long tradition in the context of emergencyresponse. But in the case of the earthquake, it experienced a breakdown in telecommunications that inhibited the coordination of emergency response activities during several hours after the earthquake.
The Government of Chile and ONEMI are well aware of the benefits of space-based information in the context of emergency response, and have requested the activation of the Charter and of UN-SPIDER in such cases.
While ONEMI had received training from the National Commission on Space Activities of Argentina (CONAE) on the processing of satellite imagery for emergency response, the amount of satellite imagery provided to ONEMI demanded support from other government agencies and universities for its processing.
In its coordinating role, ONEMI has the capacity to mobilize the support of other government agencies and academia in case of disasters.
ONEMI and the other agencies could greatly benefit from processing the satellite imagery provided by a variety of space agencies to elaborate a mosaic map of satellite imagery donated as a way to identify which geographic areas are covered and where there are gaps that need to be filled.
To better present information to decision makers in case of emergency response, geo-viewers, such as the one developed by Esri, could be very useful to display information regarding the impacts of the event and additional layers. The use of these tools should be explored by ONEMI.
The Government of Chile is recommended to continue its efforts towards the establishment of the Chilean Space Agency as a way to promote the use of space-based applications in a variety of areas, including disaster-risk management and emergency response.
ONEMI and other agencies could systematize lessons learned from the use of space-based information in the case of the 2010 earthquake and explore the use of other space-based technologies in case of emergency response including satellite telecommunications and GNSS.
A conference of geological and scientific experts met in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas last week to discuss using the TerraSAR-X satellite system to assist Chile in predicting volcanic eruptions. The satellite, which has been in orbit for nearly a year, could provide Chile with significantly advanced warning of volcanic activity and tsunamis.
Within the framework of the international Committee on SatelliteEarth Observation (CEOS), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is collaborating with NASA on various projects helping to monitor, manage and respond to natural disasters.
In what the interior minister described as a “white earthquake,” heavy snow blanketed parts of Chile in July 2011. Snow was 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) deep in the city of Lonquimay, CNN reported. Santiago Times reported that some areas received four months’ worth of snowfall in just four days.