News

  • This map shows the ground motion during the six months following the earthquake that struck the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi on 28 September 2018, and was obtained by processing Copernicus Sentinel-1 images acquired between October 2018 and April 2019. Image: ESA/contains Copernicus Sentinel data (2018–19), processed by Planetek Rheticus Service.
    European Space Agency and Asian Development Bank help Indonesia with rebuilding efforts after 2018 earthquake Tue Aug 6 2019
    In September 2018, the Indonesian island of Sulawesi was hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. The impact, combined with the tsunami, landslides, and soil liquefaction that followed, “... claimed well over 2000 lives, destroyed homes, buildings, infrastructure and farmland in several districts,” according to the European Space Agency (ESA).  Ten months later, response efforts are now moving into the...
  • A Sentinel-2 false colour image showing active fires in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Image: DLR/ZKI.
    DLR supports efforts to fight forest fires in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Thu Jul 25 2019
    Satellite technology became an integral part of efforts to detect and contain forest fires in Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, Germany at the end of June and early July. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) used satellite information, along with images captured by the Modular Aerial Camera System (MACS), to create maps, which provided emergency services with up-to-date information about areas affected...
  • Mission team with the director and staff of the Department of Civil Protection and other organizations. Image: DPC.
    Space-based data in emergency response at centre of UN-SPIDER Institutional Strengthening Mission to Cameroon Tue Jul 23 2019
    Upon the request of the Ministry of Territorial Administration (MINAT), Government of Cameroon, UN-SPIDER carried out a week-long Institutional Strengthening Mission (ISM) to Yaoundé from 15 to 19 July. The mission aimed to strengthen the capacities of the Department of Civil Protection (DPC) of Cameroon in using space-based information in all phases of the disaster management cycle. It was the...
  • The above map shows the distribution of women of reproductive age (ages 18-49) spread across Tanzania, drawn from a combination of census data and satellite imagery. Image: Facebook.
    Facebook expands its population density maps to the Asia-Pacific region Tue Jul 16 2019
    Facebook has published new population density maps covering most of the African continent and countries of the Asia-Pacific region in June 2019. Using artificial intelligence (AI), these maps help organizations to respond to natural disasters, and scientists to assess the impact of climate change and urbanization on people’s lives. As soon as almost the entire world population is covered by the...
  • Damage from Hurricane Maria, which struck the island country of Dominica in 2017. Image: Tanya Holden/UK Department for International Development (DFID).
    IMF releases report on building disaster resilience in small and low-income countries Fri Jul 12 2019
    Small and low-income countries can be disproportionately affected by natural disasters. For example, the top ten natural disasters between 1980 and 2017, in terms of greatest damage as a percentage of GDP, occurred in small and low-income countries, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its June 2019 policy paper, “Building Resilience in Developing Countries Vulnerable to Large...
  • A satellite view of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy prior to its collapse in August 2018. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Google.
    Study discusses use of space technology for detecting infrastructure instability Mon Jul 8 2019
    Evaluating the safety and integrity of infrastructure such as bridges, which is often done through hands-on inspections, may soon be possible with the help of information captured several kilometers above the Earth’s surface. According to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) news article, scientists from NASA, the University of Bath, and the Italian Space Agency used historical...
  • Hurricane Florence (2018). Image: NASA Earth Observatory.
    Tropical Cyclones stalling along the North Atlantic coast lead to more rain in the confined location Thu Jul 4 2019
    According to a new study by scientists from NASA and NOAA, tropical cyclones stall more frequently and stay longer near the coastline. This potentially leads to more precipitation over confined locations and thus an aggravation of tropical cyclone hazards for coastal populations. In the new study, scientists Hall and Kossin examined all tropical cyclones from 1944-2017 in the National Hurricane...
  • Modeled catchment mean annual loss. For clarity, only catchments with a mean annual loss of >$1.5 million have been plotted. Image: Quinn, N., Bates, P. D., Neal, J., Smith, A., Wing, O., Sampson, C., et al. ( 2019).
    Recent study presents new assessment method for rare floods risks Thu Jul 4 2019
    A recent study, published in the Water Resource Research journal, presents a new method for a spatially realistic national flood risk assessment. Researchers expanded an existing statistical model, based on U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) river flow data, to simulate a thousand years of potential flood events. By calculating the damage for each event in dollars, they were able to estimate the...
  • Damage from a 7.4 earthquake and a tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on 28 September 2018. Image: European Union/Pierre Prakash/Flickr.
    Flooding affected more people in 2018 than any other disaster type report shows Mon Jul 1 2019
    In the past year, “there were 315 natural disaster events recorded with 11,804 deaths, over 68 million people affected, and US$131.7 billion in economic losses around the world.” This is according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) in its recently released 2018 Natural Disasters Report.  While these 2018 natural disaster values represent a decrease when compared...
  • FV3: Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere Dynamical Core
    NOAA's upgrade of its Global Forecast System expected to enhance weather forecasts in the USA Thu Jun 27 2019
    In June 2019, NOAA upgraded its flagship weather model, the Global Forecast System (GFS), with a new dynamic core, called Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere Dynamical Core (FV3). This upgrade of the GFS will enhance global numerical weather forecasting and better forecast precipitation, heavy rainfall and weather types at both regional and global level. Besides, the FV3-based GFS revealed improvements in...
  • Cover of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) 2018 Annual Report. Image: UNOOSA.
    UNOOSA launches 2018 Annual Report Fri Jun 21 2019
    In its recently released 2018 Annual Report, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) provides an overview of the many projects and initiatives it engaged in during the past year to advance international cooperation in outer space. As one of the highlights, UNOOSA organized and hosted the UNISPACE+50 symposium in Vienna in June 2018 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the...
  • An artistic representation of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission. Image: Canadian Space Agency.
    Canadian RADARSAT Constellation Mission to support disaster relief efforts Fri Jun 21 2019
    On 12 June 2019, a trio of identical Canadian Earth observation satellites, which will help monitor climate change and save lives during natural disasters, among other applications, were successfully launched into space from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.   The satellites, collectively referred to as the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RAM), follow the legacy of over two decades of Canadian RADARSAT...
  • A sandstorm over the Sahara desert seen by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station in 2014. Image: ESA/NASA.
    Applications open for UN-SPIDER Bonn International Conference “Space-based Solutions for Disaster Management in Africa: Challenges, Applications, Partnerships” Tue Jun 18 2019
    The importance of using space technologies in the disaster management process has received growing global recognition in recent years. For example, the African Union outlined in its 2017 African Space Policy that among other things, space represents a unique opportunity for cooperation in using and sharing infrastructure and data to proactively respond to and manage natural hazards and disasters...
  • Representatives of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices and observer organizations..
    9th annual meeting of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices opens in Vienna Tue Jun 18 2019
    Representatives from the network of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices (RSO) convene in Vienna for the 9th Annual RSO Coordination Meeting from 18 to 19 June. Held at the United Nations Offices in Vienna, the meeting provides the 23 RSOs the opportunity to propose concrete ways in which they, respectively, could further collaborate with UN-SPIDER and also with other RSOs. The event is a forum for...
  • H.E. Gerhard Küntzle, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations (Vienna); UNOOSA Director Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo; and Prof. Klaus Greve from the Centre for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL) at the University of Bonn.
    UNOOSA signs cooperation agreement with the University of Bonn to help Member States leverage space-based information in all phases of disaster management Tue Jun 18 2019
    The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Bonn, Germany, that paves the way for joint activities to support Member States in using space-based information in all phases of disaster management over the next five years. Natural and man-made disasters lead to loss of lives and property, displace people from their homes and...
  • Natural-colour Sentinel-2A image of Mexico City and surroundings. Image: Copernicus Sentinel data (2015)/ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.
    UN-SPIDER highlights role of Earth observation in understanding exposure of urban infrastructure to hazards at Resilient Infrastructure Forum Thu Jun 6 2019
    Under the annual theme "Towards A Safer Urban Future", the 2nd Resilient Infrastructure Forum took place in Colombia from 4 to 6 June 2019. The Forum aimed to develop a coordinated long-term strategy to overcome challenges posed by disasters, such as severe storms, tsunamis or earthquakes in Latin America and the Caribbean. At the event, UN-SPIDER underlined the benefits of space-based...
  • Flooding in the Pak Kret area of Bangkok, Thailand in 2011. Image: Philip Roeland/Flickr.
    Review article discusses using remote sensing-based proxies to improve urban disaster risk management and resilience Fri May 31 2019
    Remote sensing, or obtaining information about the Earth’s surface from afar using satellites or high altitude aircraft, is an important tool for predicting, mitigating, and managing disasters. To obtain a more comprehensive view of the conditions on Earth, remote sensing analysts must often look beyond information that can be immediately extracted from satellite imagery, for example, and use...
  • SuperMUC-NG, the supercomputer at Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ). Image: Veronika Hohenegger/LRZ.
    German Aerospace Centre and Leipniz Supercomputing Centre team up to improve Earth observation data analysis Fri May 31 2019
    Data generated by Earth observation satellites can provide critical insights for disaster mitigation and management by revealing changes in the Earth’s surface over time. However, the great volume and different types of satellite data collected can pose challenges for evaluation. A new partnership between one of Europe’s largest supercomputing centres, the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ), and...
  • Ground deformation map of Pistoia in Tuscany. Using data acquired between 2014 and 2019 from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission, the map shows subsidence in red and uplift in blue. Image: ESA/TRE ALTAMIRA.
    Italy uses Sentinel-1 satellite data to monitor sinking ground surfaces Thu May 30 2019
    The lowering or sinking of the ground’s surface, referred to as land subsidence, can cause serious damage to infrastructure and private property, and in turn, have an adverse impact on communities, individuals, and the economy. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel-1 satellite, part of the Copernicus programme, is being used to monitor cases of land subsidence and contribute to risk...
  • Image showing the movement of the Lambert Glacier, with ice velocity vectors obtained by using RADARSAT Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the 2000 Antarctic Mapping Mission. Image: Canadian Space Agency/NASA/Ohio State University, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Alaska SAR facility. Retrieved from NASA Earth Observatory.
    Images from Canada’s first Earth observation satellite made available to the public Fri May 24 2019
    The Canadian Space Agency and the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation have released 36,500 RADARSAT-1 images, which are available at no cost on the Government of Canada’s Earth Observation Data Management System. Having aided relief operations in 244 disaster events through the images it captured, the Canadian RADARSAT-1 satellite now has the opportunity to reach a broad pool of...
  • Participants of the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II). Image: WMO.
    Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference calls for strengthening early warning efforts to meet challenges posed by a changing climate Thu May 23 2019
    Held on 13 and 14 May in Geneva, the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II) called for further strengthening of multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS) as part of disaster risk reduction efforts worldwide. At the event, more than 320 participants from all regions of the world and affiliated to international, regional, national and local public sector, civil society, private...

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