Such a powerful earthquake can make current maps suddenly out of date, causing additional challenges to rescue workers on the ground. Earth observation satellite images can help rescue efforts by providing updated views of how the landscape and the infrastructure have been affected.
Following the event, the French Civil Protection authorities, the Public Safety of Canada, the American Earthquake Hazards Programme of USGS and the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti requested satellite data of the area from the International Charter on ‘Space and Major Disasters’. The initiative, referred to as ‘The Charter’, is aimed at providing satellite data free of charge to those affected by disasters anywhere in the world.
To meet the requirements of the rescue teams in Haiti, Very High Resolution imagery is needed from both optical and radar sensors. Through the Charter, the international space community is acquiring satellite imagery as quickly as possible. Currently, data are being collected by various satellites including Japan’s ALOS, CNES’s Spot-5, the U.S.’s WorldView and QuickBird, Canada’s RADARSAT-2 and ESA’s ERS-2 and Envisat.
Satellite imagery acquired immediately after the event is used to generate emergency maps to provide rescue services with an overview of the current state of the area. These can be compared with situation maps generated from archived satellite data to identify major changes on the ground caused by the disaster.Comparison of the maps from before and after the event allows areas that have been hit hardest to be distinguished and identify passable routes for relief and rescue workers. Additionally, they can help to identify areas which are suitable for setting up aid camps where medical support and shelter can be provided to people.
The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security’s SAFER project is collaborating with the Charter to provide a specialised capacity to produce damage maps over the area. SAFER’s value-adding providers SERTIT from Strasbourg and the German Aerospace Centre’s (DLR) centre for satellite-based crisis information (ZKI) from Munich are currently working on this.
Via the Charter mechanism, all of these agencies have committed to provide free and unrestricted access to their space assets to support relief efforts in the immediate aftermath of a major disaster.
The Charter also collaborates with other satellite damage-mapping initiatives within the UN such as the UNITAR/UNOSAT team who is receiving support from the U.S. government to analyse satellite imagery to be provided to the Haitian government, UN sister agencies and NGOs.
To learn more about the Charter and to find updated maps on the Haiti earthquake, please visit the links on the right.
In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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