In Japan after the earthquake and tsunami, crowd-sourced maps have helped give local relief workers a clearer picture of the situation on the ground as they set priorities for food, shelter and sanitation services. The Web maps are also being used to track the fighting in Libya and the needs of refugees fleeing that conflict.
The US Army Geospatial Center (AGC) compiled earthquake, water, and geology maps as well as other data sets of Japan and made them available via its public and public key infrastructure (PKI) Web sites last week in support of US quake and tsunami relief efforts.
On March 24, JAXA set up a ground antenna and the movable test communication terminal for the KIKU No. 8 at the Ofunato City Hall to connect the communication line of up to 768 Kbps between the City Hall and the Tsukuba Space Center via KIKU No. 8 in cooperation with the National Institution of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) based on a request from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which received a petition from Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture.
A new GEO Geohazard Supersite on the Tohoku-oki Event was established immediately after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami to aid rescue efforts and advance scientific understanding. Meanwhile, the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters was activated at the request of the Japanese Cabinet and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami the international community stepped up its efforts on developing and building early warning systems. Japan is a leading nation with respect to expertise and implementation of both earthquake and tsunami early warning systems.
UNITAR/UNOSAT has produced a map of tsunami-related standing water bodies, Sendai, Miyagi prefecture. This map illustrates satellite-detected standing bodies of water remaining after the tsunami event over the city of Sendai and affected areas south in Miyagi Prefecture.
During and after the Earthquake in Japan, Earth observation technology including buoys, satellites and other imaging devices have allowed scientists and the media to visualize and track the impact of the event, mitigating loss of life and property and supporting effective rescue efforts.
The aftermath of the catastrophic quake and tsunami in Japan has mobilised unprecedented participation from social networks and crowd sourcing communities around the world. Satellite imagery released for free by major commercial satellite companies earlier this week revealed to the world the extent of the impact of the tsunami waves that hit the east coast of Japan on Friday 11 March.