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UN-SPIDER Bonn International Conference. Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Over 100 participants from more than 20 countries discussed the use of space technologies in meeting the challenges posed by floods, droughts and other disasters across Africa at an international conference that took place from 6 to 8 November in Bonn, Germany. The UN-SPIDER Bonn International Conference "Space-based Solutions for Disaster Management in Africa: Challenges, Applications, Partnerships" brought together space agencies, national disaster management agencies, international, regional and non-governmental organizations, academia and the private sector to discuss how space-based information can support disaster risk reduction,... read more

Publishing Date: 08/11/2019
A photo of Mt. Etna erupting on 30 October 2002, taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Image: NASA Earth Observatory/Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center.

“More than half of the world’s active volcanoes are not monitored instrumentally,” according to GFZ Helmholtz Centre Potsdam. Yet eruptions occur quite frequently, with up to 85 of the 1500 active volcanoes erupting each year, and can cause significant damage. For example, the 2018 volcanic eruptions at Fuego (Guatemala) and Anak Krakatau (Indonesia) resulted in 430 dead and missing persons. This threat to human life makes improving the monitoring of volcanoes all the more important. 

A German research team, made up of scientists  from the Technical University of Berlin and the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam,... read more

Publishing Date: 06/08/2019
A Sentinel-2 false colour image showing active fires in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Image: DLR/ZKI.

Satellite technology became an integral part of efforts to detect and contain forest fires in Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, Germany at the end of June and early July. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) used satellite information, along with images captured by the Modular Aerial Camera System (MACS), to create maps, which provided emergency services with up-... read more

Publishing Date: 25/07/2019
A sandstorm over the Sahara desert seen by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station in 2014. Image: ESA/NASA.

The importance of using space technologies in the disaster management process has received growing global recognition in recent years. For example, the African Union outlined in its 2017 African Space Policy that among other things, space represents a unique opportunity for cooperation in using and sharing infrastructure and data to proactively respond to and manage natural hazards and... read more

Publishing Date: 18/06/2019
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
H.E. Gerhard Küntzle, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations (Vienna); UNOOSA Director Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo; and Prof. Klaus Greve from the Centre for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL) at the University of Bonn.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Bonn, Germany, that paves the way for joint activities to support Member States in using space-based information in all phases of disaster management over the next five years.

Natural and man-made disasters lead to loss of lives and property, displace people from their homes and destroy livelihoods, and threaten to jeopardize sustainable development efforts worldwide. Through its spatial and temporal coverage, satellite-based information provides crucial insights about... read more

Publishing Date: 18/06/2019
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
The "Flying Laptop". Image: DLR.

Optical transmission techniques are considered to be the most effective way to transmit the significant amounts of data obtained day after day from Earth observation satellites to the ground for analysis. With a small test satellite, a corresponding data transmission via laser has now been successfully tested by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the University of Stuttgart.

Earth observation satellites  are used... read more

Publishing Date: 23/04/2019
The false-colour image of the Italian landscape is captured with Copernicus Sentinel-1B satellite. This region is prone to earthquakes. Sentinel-1’s radar technology can provide images with a resolution of 10 m and within hours of acquisition to aid emergency response. Image: ESA.

A new project seeks to evaluate how satellite remote sensing and Copernicus satellite data can support reporting related to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (SFDRR). Cop4Sen will be implemented by the German National Coordination for the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (Copernicus EMS) under the auspice of the Federal Office of Civil Protection and... read more

Publishing Date: 21/03/2019
DLR Humanitarian Tech Days. Image: DLR.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its UN-SPIDER programme, attended the DLR (German Aerospace Center) Humanitarian Technology Days on 6 and 7 February at the DLR Earth Observation Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.

DLR has conducted research on disaster management and civil security for many years, with humanitarian action in complicated working conditions and the need for technology support being at the forefront, hence the organization of such an event.

This workshop brought... read more

Publishing Date: 11/02/2019

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency... read more

Publishing Date: 12/11/2018
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
Global TanDEM-X Digital Elevation Model. Image: DLR.

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has released a 90-metre resolution global elevation model from its TanDEM-X mission for scientific data use. The data is free to download via the new Earth Observation Center (EOC) download service.

Digital Elevation Models (DEM... read more

Publishing Date: 09/10/2018
Dry soil

A break in the heat wave that hit Europe in the summer of 2018 is giving a reprieve to many people who had been suffering from the heat. However, great damages to the vegetation and harvest remain. In Germany, the Association of Farmers has reported damages from the dry spell of over EUR 1 billion. Vegetation growth in various regions and whether there is a long-term trend in vegetation development can be assessed using satellite imagery. Identifying regions that are susceptible to drought are... read more

Publishing Date: 17/08/2018
Rise of the Seine river, 26 January 2018

The Copernicus Emergency Management Service has been activated on 23 January due to floods in northern France. Paris and the northeastern part of France are affected as a result of prolonged heavy rains causing a rise of the rivers Seine, Rhine and Ill. Authorities from Meteo France emitted an orange alert for floods.

At the moment, 20 departments in northern and eastern France are under orange alert advising citizens to be cautious. While in Paris the Seine river overflowed its banks on Tuesday, only small areas close to the river were affected. French flood risk... read more

Publishing Date: 26/01/2018
The rising waters of the Rhine river in Bonn. Image: UN-SPIDER.

The UN-SPIDER team has utilised radar imagery to track high levels in the Rhine river near Cologne and Dusseldorf between 6 and 8 January 2018.

A combination of heavy rainfall, stormy weather and warmer temperatures than usual led to rising levels in the Rhine River.

By using the UN-SPIDER Recommended Practice on flood mapping and Sentinel-1 data from 6-8 January the team developed maps displaying areas affected by these rising waters between Cologne and Dusseldorf. The radar imagery is typically used to determine or assess the geographical extent of floods because such imagery are not affected by the presence of clouds. The Recommended Practice was developed by the Ukrainian Space Research Institute NASU-SSAU and it is available on the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal.

Publishing Date: 12/01/2018
International Conference on International Cooperation Towards Low-Emission and Resilient Societies

Disaster risk reduction and combating climate change and its effects are integral parts of social and economic development, and are essential if development is to be sustainable for the future. This is recognized by the Sustainable Development Goals that were launched in September 2015.

The United Nations has recognized the potential of space technology for socio-economic development through three global conferences on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE), the first of which took place in 1968. In 2015, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) launched the UNISPACE+50 process as a way to... read more

Publishing Date: 05/07/2017

The The Center for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL) of the University of Bonn recently signed an agreement with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs to become a Regional Support Office of the UN-SPIDER Programme.  ZFL is an interdisciplinary center of the University of Bonn dedicated to research and teaching in the fields of remote sensing, geoinformation sciences and spatial modelling. It was founded with the objective to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration within the University of Bonn and to foster research and teaching activities in its field.     

Publishing Date: 03/06/2016
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
DLR Conference on Climate Change 2016

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) inaugurated the DLR Conference on Climate Change 2016 to provide a discussion forum on the considerable challenges in atmospheric climate research, on ways in which space and atmospheric research can support the requirements of climate protection and to identify tools and methods for a continuous monitoring process to ensure adherence to climate change agreements.  The Conference, conducted in collaboration with United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, (UNOOSA), has brought together more than seventy international scientists from research centers and space agencies and experts from UN entities such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).  The conference, carried out in the... read more

Publishing Date: 05/04/2016
The UN celebrates the International Day for Disaster Reduction (Image: NASA/UNISDR).

Throughout their history, societies around the world have suffered the impacts of disasters triggered by natural hazards. And while disasters continue to occur in this century, the knowledge gained over hundreds of years has been essential to identify ways to minimize the effects of such natural hazards. Ancient communities in floodplains and deltas developed the knowledge to identify areas less exposed to floods, as well as precursors to such floods.  In the Indian Ocean and in the islands in Asia Pacific, coastal communities developed and now use indigenous or traditional knowledge regarding the behavior of the sea in case of tsunamis as a way to minimize casualties in case such tsunamis take place.  

And while traditional or indigenous knowledge is an important pillar of the... read more

Publishing Date: 13/10/2015
Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 mission to measure ocean's surface topography with high-precision (Image: NASA)

The development and production contract for the Jason-CS/Sentinel-6A satellite has been signed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, at the 36th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment in Berlin.

Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 is a mission allowing to measure ocean surface topography with high-precision and to create a global map. The cycle of observations is repeated every 10 days with an accuracy of few centimetres from the oceans’surface. The Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 satellites will ensure that measurements are carried out on a continuous basis from the years 2020 and 2026 respectively.

The... read more

Publishing Date: 13/05/2015
The double satellite formation TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X will be one of the issues presented at the ISRSE-36 (Image: DLR)

The 36th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of the Environment (ISRSE) hosted by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will take place from 11 to 15 May in Berlin. 

Stakeholders from around 65 countries will discuss the importance of Earth observation and satellite data when dealing with natural disasters and crises, but also for daily information about weather and climate, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture or resource consumption, among other essential... read more

Publishing Date: 05/05/2015
Coastal landscapes around the island of Hiddensee, Germany (Image: Klugschnacker)

A new study at the TU Darmstadt's Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering used satellite data to analyse sea level changes, which were traditionally recorded at coastal tide gauge stations by measuring the water level relative to a fixed point of the Earth's crust. It will allow the recording of data in a global reference frame, not only locally.

The sea level has been rising by an average of 3.1 millimetres a year since 1993. Long-term measurements recorded since the start of the 20th century indicate an acceleration in the averaged sea level change. Coastal flooding and land loss are just some of the severe consequences. Satellite data is crucial for protecting coasts from the rising seas,... read more

Publishing Date: 20/03/2015
Yvette storm in Southeast Europe and Balkans in 2014 (Image: NASA)

The European Commission has awarded a contract worth 12 million Euros to e-GEOS, to provide satellite maps for emergency management. The contract, identified as Copernicus Emergency Management Service – Rapid Mapping, will be active in the period 2015- 2019.

e-GEOS, a company established by Telespazio (80%) and the Italian Space Agency (20%), will lead an international consortium formed by the German subsidiary GAF, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Italian company Ithaca and the French partners Sirs and Sertit. Under the new contract, the consortium... read more

Publishing Date: 04/03/2015
DLR and the United Nations University agreed on closer cooperation

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the United Nations University (UNU) have agreed to continue to strengthen their cooperation. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the DLR Executive Board, and Jakob Rhyner, Vice Rector of UNU in Europe and Director of UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn, signed an agreement to this effect on 23 February 2015.

DLR and UNU expect that their agreement will result in even closer ties between science and practice, additional joint projects in the field of... read more

Publishing Date: 26/02/2015
Microsatellites TET-1 and BIROS

In October 2015, Germany will launch the Berlin Infrared Optical System (BIROS), a microsatellite capable of monitoring forest fires from Space. The microsatellite was partly developed by the Institute of Optical Sensor Systems in Berlin of the German Aerospace Agency (DLR). BIROS will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India.

As part of the FIREBIRD mission, with its on-board infrared camera on board, BIROS will link up with TET-1 for accurate, timely detection of forest fires. TET-1 is previous German microsatellite, which was sent into space in 2012.

“Small satellite technology has taken major development hurdles in recent years,” said Dr. Rainer Sandau, technical director for satellite... read more

Publishing Date: 18/02/2015
Participants of the KNOW-4-DRR workshop

From the 10-11 of December 2014, the United Nations University's Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) held a workshop on decision making and knowledge management in disaster risk reduction (DRR). This workshop was conducted within the frame of the KNOW-4-DRR project (Enabling knowledge for DRR in integration to climate change adaptation), funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the Politecnico di Milano.

... read more
Publishing Date: 03/02/2015

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