Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Satellite flood mapping service strengthens eastern France civil protection

21.03.2006


A satellite-based rapid mapping service developed to support civil defence activities in eastern France is ready and on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The pioneering service has been designed to manage flood events – the world’s most widespread category of natural disaster.


Satellite view of the Meuse River flood



As well as being applied to risk assessment and prevention efforts, the ESA-backed Flood Plain Monitoring Service aims to deliver map products to end users within six hours during times of crisis, giving emergency responders the ability to track the full extent of floods as they occur.

Developed over three years through the ESA Earth Observation Market Development (EOMD) programme, the service was consolidated with the France’s Eastern Defence Zone (EDZ), which is made up of 18 departments with a total area of 105 000 sq. km and a population of 8.3 million people. It also includes four major hydrological basins potentially vulnerable to flooding. The service provider is Strasbourg–based rapid mapping specialist firm SERTIT, with the EDZ Prefecture as partner end-user.


"We are one of France’s seven national civil defence zones," explained Colonel François Maurer on behalf of the French Directorate of Civil Defence and Security (DDSC), Chief of Staff (Chef d’état-major) of the EDZ.

"Our role is to carry out emergency planning, and, in the event of an incident, coordinate the response activities of the various departments. Department prefects are the main decision makers who activate the emergency services but may not have specialist knowledge in the field, so we advise them as needed."

The service is based on two types of satellite data. High-resolution imagery from optical satellites is combined with satellite radar imagery which can be acquired even at night or through heavy cloud or rainfall.

The large amount of detail found in optical images is used in advance to create reference land cover maps that can be combined when needed with radar images that are highly sensitive to waterlogged surfaces. These images can also be utilised in conjunction with digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from radar data to help model which areas are most at risk.

"We don’t mind which satellites are used, we just want the maps," said Colonel Maurer. "Our key issue is time – but very quickly the satellite maps give us an impression of the flood extent, and the areas that are affected. The maps can support high-level decision making and the best use possible of human and material resources.

"We can interpret them to see the extent to which the water is going to extend, to help steer our teams around and figure out where best to deploy our pumps and sandbags, where to evacuate first. New buildings may not have made it yet onto standard paper maps, but might still need priority evacuation: hospitals, for example, or homes for the elderly. It is better to perform something like that well in advance rather than when feet are already in the water!"

The service was initially designed for flood crisis mapping, but it was soon realised the products would also be relevant for other flood management phases: the post-crisis clean up, prevention and forecasting. Some 80 agencies involved in flood management within the EDZ – such as regional water agencies and flood forecast services – have therefore been briefed on utilising the service.

During the last decade floods have affected approximately 1.5 billion people – more than 75% of the total number of people reported as affected as natural disasters worldwide. They are catastrophic events affecting large areas at once, which can make them difficult to predict and monitor.

Traditional flood forecasting is carried out using river height and rainfall measurements – often only sparsely available - assimilated into hydrological models. Flood extent is often calculated through historical analysis of maps of past events, or model calculations. ‘Real-time’ flood measurements, if made at all, are carried out through expensive and weather-dependent aerial photography campaigns. Post-crisis damage mapping traditionally relies on ground surveys, projections from population statistics and insurance damage claims.

"One of the objectives is to keep detailed satellite-derived maps of past flood events and their evolution, to build an accurate memory of what has happened across our area of interest," added Colonel Maurer.

The Flood Plain Monitoring Service has yet to be used in a flood situation within the EDZ, although satellite images are regularly acquired for reference mapping and risk analysis. SERTIT has carried out crisis mapping for a number of flood situations further afield, in locations from Germany to China, often in support of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, which prioritises the acquisition of satellite imagery for disaster relief operations.

"The use of satellite imagery has recently been added to the operational Civil Protection procedures," concluded Colonel Maurer. "This integration represents a big achievement for the three years of our activity, and shows how the demand for this type of data is here to stay."

This achievement has led to the rapid mapping service continuing its development within the framework of ESA’s Earthwatch GMES Services Elements (GSE), Risk-EOS and Respond, responding to natural disasters and humanitarian aid situations worldwide providing services to the humanitarian aid community to civil defence agencies.

Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMWMDMVGJE_environment_0.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate change weakens Walker circulation
20.10.2017 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

nachricht Shallow soils promote savannas in South America
20.10.2017 | Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Metallic nanoparticles will help to determine the percentage of volatile compounds

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Shallow soils promote savannas in South America

20.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>