Technical paper: Space Applications for Improving Disaster Management

Technical paper: Space Applications for Improving Disaster Management

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Space applications encompass many different space based technologies, tools and techniques. These can range from the use of Earth Observation (EO) satellites for obtaining satellite imagery, Geospatial Information (GI) or integrated location based data along with socio-economic data, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as positioning systems, Remote Sensing (RS) and imagery analysis, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for aerial photography etc. This paper will discuss ways to improve disaster management through the use of space applications.

The structure of this paper is essentially in two parts, looking at both policy and practice levels within the context of space applications for disaster management. The introductory section will firstly establish the growing need for space applications in addressing disaster management, by highlighting the identified priorities and gaps in disaster risk reduction and disaster management over the last decade, which relate to technologies associated with space applications. Subsequently, in the first section, space applications for improving disaster management will be identified and introduced within the contexts of frameworks and institutional issues. This can help in identifying and leveraging the overarching mandates for pursuing space applications at the policy level and understanding programming motivations. This section will further identify international and regional cooperation mechanisms. This can lead to stakeholder mapping and visualisation of the different actors in space applications and disaster management to better align objectives, identify programming entry points and ensure synergy across the sector and region.

The second section, will highlight trends in focus and priorities over the last several years, with a particular focus on operational activities. Consequently, good examples of operational activities in the different phases of the disaster management cycle, for improving disaster management through space applications will be showcased. These examples will cover the areas of monitoring and early warning; disaster mitigation and preparedness; emergency relief and response; and recovery, rehabilitation and long term sustainable development, in both natural disaster and complex emergency contexts.
Additionally, the paper will touch on coordination efforts and opportunities, in space applications at the different levels which can feed into regional coordination mechanisms for improving disaster management. Finally, recommendations will be provided at both the policy and practice levels for improving disaster management through the use of space applications.