Within 24 hours of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, space agencies and companies around the world tasked satellites with providing free images of the earthquake’s aftermath. Experts quickly analyzed and interpreted images taken from space, mapping out essential information for rescue workers on the ground: areas with many damaged buildings, roads likely closed by debris.
Japan needs maps. Not just any kind—detailed informational maps georegistered with latitude and longitude and annotated with simple, self-evident details: this bridge is out, this port is damaged, this farm field is scoured; this one is verdant.
After the severe earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ was activated on the morning of the 11 March 2011. All participating institutions were asked to provide satellite imagery of the affected area.