UNOOSA took up the annually rotating position of official Chair of the International Working Group on Satellite based Emergency Mapping (IWG-SEM) at the Group's meeting today in Bonn, Germany.
The IWG-SEM is a voluntary group of organizations involved in satellite based emergency mapping which supports disaster response by improving international cooperation in such mapping activities. The group was founded to improve cooperation, communication and professional standards among the global network of satellite based emergency mapping providers. This becomes especially important for the large-scale response in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes such as in Haiti in 2010 or last month in Nepal.
UNOOSA will take over as Chair from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). In this role, UNOOSA is aiming to promote further collaboration among the Group's members, and is looking to broaden its membership. In the coming year UNOOSA also wants to continue working on the Group's professional and technical standards for satellite imagery based emergency mapping to make them more widely accepted by the professional community.
The Director of UNOOSA, Simonetta Di Pippo, said she welcomed "this role that the Office, through its Space-based information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response Programme (UN-SPIDER), can play to strengthen cooperation with other specialized actors to help build better emergency mapping guidelines and to review technical standards. It will contribute to more effective crisis response due to higher data accuracy."