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Fifteen Years of Disaster Relief from Space: AIT Director among Authors Published in the prestigious "Science" journal

Till a few years ago, very few specialists were working on the analysis and use of satellite images. However, for the past 15 years, a niche area has developed of those experts who are using satellite data for disaster management. Tracking these developments over the past decade and a half is an article titled “Global trends in satellite-based emergency mapping,” published in the latest issue of the prestigious Science Journal (15 July 2016).

Fifteen Years of Disaster Relief from Space: AIT Director among Authors Published in the prestigious "Science" journal

Cover of Science (15 July 2016)

Among the authors is a scientist from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Dr. Manzul Kumar Hazarika, who serves as Director (Project Operations) at AIT’s Geoinformatics Center (GIC).

More than 1000 major disaster situations from 2000-2014 were analyzed where satellite monitoring was employed. An international team of 17 experts analyzed the historical development of satellite-based emergency mapping, and presented global patterns alongside historic and emerging trends in this field.

Says Dr. Hazarika: “We have provided a synthesis of spatial patterns and temporal trends in global satellite emergency mapping, and our results indicate that satellite-based emergency mapping is most intensively deployed in Asia and Europe.” Our paper also presents an outlook on the future use of Earth observation technology for both disaster response and mitigation," he says.

AIT has also been very active in using satellite data for disaster mapping with the Geoinformatics Centre acting as the Principal Data Analysis Node (P-DAN) of Sentinel Asia, and it was only natural that we were asked to collaborate in this exercise,  Dr. Hazarika adds.

The paper also pinpoints important landmark events that have accelerated the use of satellite imagery for disaster management. The Indian Ocean tsunami (2004), Wenchuan Earthquake (2008), Haiti Earthquake (2010), Pakistan flood (2010), and the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011) were identified as five major events that stand out in the context of satellite-based emergency mapping.

The paper concludes by saying that the scope of satellite-based emergency mapping should be broadened to include drought, extreme temperature events, global pandemics and other slow onset events. “In the coming years, government and public commercial sectors will have greater capacity for imagining through satellite communications,” the paper adds.

The team of scientists who contributed to this paper includes top scientists and specialists from leading space organizations and research institutions from all over the world -- DLR Earth Observation Center, Information Technology for Humanitarian Assistance, Cooperation and Action (Italy), Human Rights Watch (Switzerland), European Commission - Joint Research Centre (Italy), U.S. Geological Survey (USA), Gulich Institute ‐ Córdoba National University/CONAE (Argentina), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Japan), Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand), UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (Austria), National Disaster Reduction Center of China (China), Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (Switzerland), National Space Research and Development Agency (Nigeria), Centre National d'Études Spatiales (France), Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (Kenya), European Space Agency (Belgium), and Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium).


News about this research paper has also been published in various portals and news sites:

DLR: http://goo.gl/xoaGpR
Research in Germany: http://goo.gl/yhdpaB
EI Journal: http://goo.gl/QpFlL5
Infosat : https://goo.gl/FStHwP
GIS Resources: http://goo.gl/FcDhwI