Last week a team of space experts led by British company DMCii participated in a national flooding exercise, "Exercise Watermark", to determine how satellite imagery, satellite communications and satellite navigation could be used to improve UK emergency response. The team represented an ongoing project funded via the UK's Technology Strategy Board (TSB) as part of its contribution to the European Space Agency (ESA) IAP programme.
Exercise Watermark was masterminded by the Environment Agency, on behalf of DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government, following recommendations of The Pitt Review into the flooding emergency in June and July 2007 that resulted in 13 deaths and an estimated financial cost of Pounds 3 billion.
During a disaster, space-based services can provide disaster response teams with up-to-date satellite maps and asset tracking capabilities to improve their situational awareness. Damaged or overloaded communications infrastructure on the ground can be reinforced using satellite telecommunications.
British remote sensing company, DMCii, led the team of space experts who observed Exercise Watermark as part of the 'Integrating Space Assets for UK Civil Resilience' project. At the culmination of the 14 month project, the project team will recommend a system using space assets to improve situational awareness for the risks identified in the UK Government's National Risk Register.