March 11, 2011 will be remembered as the date of one of the largest earthquakes and tsunamis in living history. An 8.9 earthquake, along with massive tidal waves, hit Japan with incredible force, causing catastrophic devastation. As the quake hit and the tsunami moved across the Pacific, earth observation technology including buoys, satellites and imaging devices allowed scientists and the media to visualize and track the impact of the event, mitigating loss of life and property and supporting effective rescue efforts.
Within just one day, UN-SPIDER had developed a database of applicable information and visualizations; the Japanese Meteorological Society had created and distributed 2 and 3-D maps of the event; the USGS had designed a digital poster to explain and describe the event and its impact; NOAA had distributed visualizations of the wave and its path; and international agencies had provided video, maps, images and other tools for managing the crisis.
Published by: Earthzine on March 12, 2011