Application of earth-observation satellites to disaster monitoring

The small satellite constellation for environment and Disaster monitoring and forecasting (SSCEDMF) is an important component of China's earth-observation satellite system. SSCEDMF is being deployed in two stages. On 6 September 2008, two optical satellites, Huan Jing (HJ)-1-A and B, were successfully launched. Each carries three main sensor types, including wide-coverage CCD cameras, IR sensors (IRSs), and a hyperspectral imager. Both HJ-1-A and B carry dual CCDs that image four bands with a spatial resolution of 30m. Each image is 360km wide. HJ-1-A also carries a hyperspectral imager capable of imaging 115 bands from 0.45 to 0.95μm with average spectral and spatial resolutions of 5nm and 100m, respectively, and 50km image width. HJ-1-B carries a four-band IRS with two near-IR and one mid-IR band, each with 150m resolution, and one thermal band of 300m resolution.

China's National Committee for Disaster Reduction (NCDR) and the National Disaster Reduction Center of China (NDRCC) are responsible for satellite operations and management. From September 2008 to February 2010, NCDR and NDRCC organized sessions at educational and other institutions to carry out on-orbit test and disaster-reduction application capacity assessment.

In March 2010, the satellites were declared operational. To satisfy the government's disaster-management needs, NCDR and NDRCC established two work patterns, one for routine daily operations and another for emergency response. Separate teams were established for data processing and applications of the CCD, hyperspectral imager, and IRS instruments. Background parameters and disaster vulnerability assessments are obtained during routine daily operations. When disasters occur, we activate the ‘Working procedure for emergency response with space-technology application against unexpected natural disasters.’ A satellite-observation plan is created to obtain disaster-area images as quickly as possible.

Source: SPIE