News

  • 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...
  • Damage in Fiji caused by the floods of January 2012. Image: AusAID/CC BY 2.0
    Crowdsourced mobile application to track disasters tested for first time in Fiji Thu Jun 28 2018
    A crowdsourced mobile application utilizing satellite technology has been used for the first time during an emergency response drill in Fiji. The geoBingAn app allows individuals to report disasters such as floods, landslides and tsunamis as well as their needs like water, power, shelter, and medicine during emergencies via their smartphone or by text message. The app, which is also available...
  • Flood in San Antonio as a result of a tsunami in 2010. Image: Atilio Leandro.
    Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy provides access to new tsunami flood charts Wed Jun 20 2018
    As part of the Tsunami Inundation Maps project (CITSU), the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (SHOA) made available information related to the occurrence of tsunamis on the Chilean coast. SHOA, which is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the national tsunami warning system, established the CITSU project in 1977 to define probable flood levels for the main...
  • UNISPACE+50 event considers future of international space cooperation Wed Jun 20 2018
    UNISPACE+50, the first global United Nations space summit in the twenty-first century, has opened today in Vienna, Austria. The event brings together government leaders, policy makers, space experts, and industry and civil society representatives to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The event is a milestone opportunity to...
  • UN-SPIDER technical advisory support booklet
    New booklet highlights UN-SPIDER advisory support activities Sun Jun 17 2018
    The United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) has published a new booklet with examples of the programme's technical advisory support activities. UN-SPIDER was established in 2006 based on the recognition that disaster risk management and emergency response communities, particularly in emerging countries, were not fully...
  • An image captured by the 16m resolution multispectral wide-angle colour camera on the Gaofen-6 earth observation satellite. Image: CNS/RADI/CAS.
    China launches new Earth observation satellites to monitor disasters Tue Jun 12 2018
    China launched its latest Earth observation satellite, Gaofen-6, which will be for disaster monitoring and agricultural research on 2 June. Another satellite to monitor weather-related disasters, Fengyun-2H, was launched by China on 5 June. On 2 June, the Gaofen-6 satellite was launched via a Long March-2D rocket which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China. The...
  • This set of 12 still images show the potential landslide by month averaged over the last 15 years. Image: NASA.
    NASA builds open global landslide catalog to improve disaster preparedness Thu Jun 7 2018
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States is currently building a worldwide database of landslide events. The Cooperative Open Online Landslide Repository (COOLR) includes NASA’s Global Landslide Catalog (GLC) which provides new insights into landslide hazards around the world.  The COOLR project is an open platform where scientists and citizen scientists...
  • Image of the eruption and resulting ash plume of the Volcan de Fuego in Guatemala captured by the NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite on 3 June 2018. Image: NASA Earth Observatory
    NASA and NOAA satellites monitor deadly Guatemala volcano eruption Wed Jun 6 2018
    Satellites from NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are monitoring the eruption of Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire) in Guatemala that has killed at least 69 people since it started erupting on 3 June 2018. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard the joint NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite captured an...
  • Logo of the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters"
    International Charter activated for Fuego Volcano in Guatemala Tue Jun 5 2018
    The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” has been activated for Guatemala’s Fuego volcano on 5 June. Guatemala’s most powerful eruption in 100 years has killed at least 69 people with many more missing, according to local reports. A state of emergency has been declared with the eruption, which started on Sunday, cascaded vast clouds of volcanic ash, rocks and toxic gas into the...

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