News

  • Sustainable use of groundwater during the dry season is crucial for paddy farming in Saptari, Nepal. Image: ICIMOD
    ICIMOD report highlights use of space data in monitoring drought and forest fires Wed Aug 15 2018
    According to a recent report published by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), space-based information can play a key role in the monitoring of agricultural droughts and forest fires. The "Building Mountain Resilience: Solutions from the Hindu Kush Himalaya" report examines the changing problems facing the Himalayan region of South Asia and highlights the...
  • Landsat 8 true colour image of the fire in Mati, Greece. Image: USGS.
    UN-SPIDER maps burn severity in Greece and Portugal Fri Aug 10 2018
    Countries all over Europe are fighting wildfires that are engulfing forests and endangering population centres. The death toll of a wildfire that raged on 23 July close to Mati, a seaside resort near Athens, Greece, was raised to 91. In early August, a large wildfire in the region of Monchique, south of Lisbon, was brought under control after over 40 people had been injured, hundreds had been...
  • Floods in Haiti in 2014. Image:UN Photo / Logan Abassi
    ESA promotes satellites to reduce impact of disasters in developing countries Fri Aug 10 2018
    A new European Space Agency (ESA) project aims to allow developing countries to have greater access to powerful Earth observation tools in order to reduce risks linked to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or volcanic eruptions. ESA’s Earth Observation for Sustainable Development initiative (EO4SD) will encourage International Financing Institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank and...
  • Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2). Image: JAXA
    JAXA produces Collection of Good Practice in Disaster Emergency Observation Wed Aug 8 2018
    The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Authority (JAXA) has released a collection of good practices in disaster emergency observation using data captured by the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2) from 2014 to 2017. The publication showcases the contributions of space technology to disaster risk reduction and demonstrates Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) observation principles,...
  • Logo of the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters"
    International Charter activation for earthquake in Indonesia Tue Aug 7 2018
    The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” has been activated on 6 August after a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Lombok, Indonesia. At least 98 people have been killed and 10,000 have been evacuated after a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Lombok, destroying buildings and cutting power. The neighbouring islands of Bali and Gili Islands have also been...
  • Copernicus is the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, looking at the Earth and its environment. It offers information services based on satellite Earth Observation and in situ (non-space) data. Image: Copernicus
    African Union signs Cooperation Arrangement with EU Copernicus programme Thu Aug 2 2018
    The African Union (AU) Commission signed a Cooperation Arrangement with the European Commission (EC) in Brussels on 12 June 2018 to facilitate AU’s access to Earth observation data from the Sentinel satellites of the Copernicus Programme. Under the agreement, the AU Commission, African public users and African disaster management agencies will be able to access the data gathered by the Copernicus...
  • An image of Tropical Storm Toraji over Japan taken by the Suomi NPP satellite on 2 September 2013. Image: NASA/CC BY 2.0
    Japan to launch new satellite-based system for disaster prediction Tue Jul 31 2018
    Japan plans to launch a new disaster prediction system using data from both satellites and the ground, in an effort to enable local governments to efficiently organize evacuations in the event of a natural disaster. As part of the new system, disaster-prone locations will be designated in advance as monitoring spots, based on relevant information including hazard maps developed by local...
  • Wildfires in Greece near Kineta captured by the Sentinel 2 satellite on 23 July. Image: Copernicus.
    Space-based applications driving fire early warning and monitoring systems Mon Jul 30 2018
    The summer of 2018 has seen several severe wildfires across Europe and the world. A number of space-based applications and data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Union’s Copernicus programme, the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) are supporting authorities in fighting the fires. Both NASA GFWED, Copernicus’ EMS and EFFIS provide disaster...
  • UNOOSA and UNITAR-UNOSAT request activation of International Charter for floods in Lao People’s Democratic Republic Fri Jul 27 2018
    The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) have jointly activated the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” for the recent floods in Lao People’s Democratic Republic on 24 July 2018. UNOOSA activated the Charter on behalf of the country’s Ministry...
  • Cover of the 2018 UN E-Government Survey. Image: UN.
    E-Governance plays critical role in advancing the field of disaster management Fri Jul 27 2018
    E-governance plays a critical role in consolidating disaster management, disaster preparedness, and emergency relief, a new United Nations report argues. The 2018 E-Government Survey discusses how e-government can facilitate integrated policies and services across the three dimensions of sustainable development. The report, produced every two years by the UN Department of Economic and Social...
  • Remnants of Lake Chad, February 2015. Image: Peter Prokosch/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
    UN Environment and Google partnership to facilitate access to environmental information Thu Jul 26 2018
    UN Environment and Google announced a global partnership on 16 July 2018 which will see the launch of a platform to enable governments, NGOs and the public to monitor and respond to changes to the environment. Given that this Earth observation-based platform can timely track a range of environmental changes, the project may also help to improve disaster resilience and provide early warning for...
  • On 14 December 2017, ESA, acting on behalf of the European Commission, signed Copernicus Data and Information Access Service (DIAS) contracts with four industrial consortia. DIAS will give unlimited, free and complete access to Copernicus data and information. Image: ESA.
    Atos activates new Earth observation platform Mundi to consolidate disaster preparedness Tue Jul 24 2018
    Atos activated its new Earth observation platform Mundi Web Services on 21 June 2018. The platform is already being used by several clients to evaluate and manage disaster risks. On behalf of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA), Atos created the Mundi platform to combine real-time geo data from Copernicus, the world’s largest single Earth observation program, with data...
  • European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska announcing the launch of Copernicus DIAS on 20 June 2018 in Baveno, Italy. Image: Copernicus
    Copernicus launches DIAS services during 20th anniversary celebrations Fri Jul 20 2018
    The European Commission has launched an initiative to facilitate access to Copernicus data and information services. DIAS is designed to improve users’ ability to access as well as process Copernicus data and information by standardizing access to data through five cloud-based platforms: CREODIAS, MUNDI, ONDA, SOBLOO and WEKEO. The European Union’s Copernicus programme produces up to 12 terabytes...
  • An aerial view of flooding in Pakistan in 2010. Image Australian Government/CC BY 2.0
    Pakistan launches Earth observation satellite to monitor disasters Thu Jul 19 2018
    Pakistan launched an Earth observation satellite into space on 9 July which will assist the country to monitor natural disasters. The Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite-1 (PRSS-1) was propelled into space on a Chinese Long March 2C rocket which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Center in northwest China. PRSS-1 is equipped with two panchromatic/multispectral cameras, with a resolution up to...
  • Global Precipitation Measurement visualization of heavy rain in Japan, 2 – 9 July 2018. Image: NASA Earth Observatory
    International Charter activated for major flooding disaster in Japan Mon Jul 16 2018
    The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” was activated on 7 July for a major flooding disaster which has hit Japan, the worst the country has experienced in 36 years. Heavy rains, which first started at the end of June 2018, caused flash flooding and deadly landslides across western and central Japan from 5 July. Over 200 fatalities have been recorded in the country so far as a...
  • Nitrogen dioxide concentration over Europe captured by Sentinel 5P Image: ESA European Space Agency.
    New Sentinel-5P data boosts quality of air pollution monitoring Fri Jul 13 2018
    On 11 July 2018, the first data on air quality by Copernicus Sentinel-5P was released. Presenting a great improvement in accuracy for monitoring air pollutants, these maps show the presence of trace gases such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. Additional data products such as the Aerosol index can provide information on atmospheric volcanic ash for aviation safety and on high levels...
  • The DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS). Image: DLR/CC-BY 3.0.
    DLR’s Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer to monitor natural disasters sent to ISS Thu Jul 12 2018
    An Earth sensing imaging spectrometer which can monitor natural disasters such as wildfires, floods, and droughts through the scan of multiple bands of light was launched into space on 29 June. The DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS) was developed by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in partnership with La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and Teledyne Brown Engineering. DESIS...
  • Flooding in India (2013). Photo: Umesh Kumar.
    India’s Government teams up with Google to improve flood management Tue Jul 10 2018
    India’s Central Water Commission (CWC) has signed a Collaboration Agreement with Google that will help crisis management agencies deal with extreme hydrological events, such as floods, more effectively.  The agreement allows CWC to make use of Google’s artificial intelligence, machine learning and geospatial mapping expertise for effective water management and flood forecasting. The agreement...
  • Image: UNU
    The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre releases new World Atlas to tackle land degradation and desertification Mon Jul 9 2018
    The Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a new edition of its World Atlas of Desertification (WAD3) on 21 June 2018. The publication and related website show that population growth and changes in consumption patterns put unprecedented pressure on the planet's natural resources. As a result, the WAD3 highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures such as greater commitment and more effective...
  • Smoke and fires in Nepal. Image: NASA (2016).
    Satellite data used to detect and monitor forest fires in Nepal Fri Jul 6 2018
    In Nepal, SERVIR-Hindu Kush Himalaya at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office (RSO), has been working in close collaboration with the Department of Forests of Nepal to develop a satellite-based forest fire detection and monitoring system. The system uses Earth observation data with large-area repetitive coverage to facilitate...
  • Prime Minister of Mongolia Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh opens 2018 AMCDRR in Ulaanbaatar.
    UNOOSA organizes side event on Earth observation at Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction Wed Jul 4 2018
    The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), is conducting a side event at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on using Earth observation to implement the Sendai Framework. The session aims to demonstrate the...

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