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18 international experts took part in the IWG-SEM autumn meeting

UN-SPIDER participated in the autumn meeting of the International Working Group on Satellite-based Emergency Mapping (IWG-SEM). The group convened in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany on the premises of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) on 25 and 26 November 2014. DLR is the current chair of the Working Group.

18 participants from international and national agencies and organizations joined the meeting in person or via telephone/video chat, including DLR, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), UN-SPIDER, the US Geological Service (... read more

Publishing Date: 26/11/2014
Joachim is an expert in earth observation and natural hazards risk

The UN-SPIDER team warmly welcomes our new colleague in the Bonn Office, Dr. Joachim Post. Joachim joined UN-SPIDER in September and he will be providing technical and scientific support to the Programme. He will mainly support the Bonn Office in its activities, including the further development of the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal, Technical Advisory Support, and the establishment of partnerships.

Joachim is a seconded expert from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). He has worked at DLR's German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) since 2006 as a research scientist on risk assessment. His work included the development and implementation of tsunami risk assessment and knowledge for early warning in Indonesia (... read more

Publishing Date: 01/10/2014
Galileo's constellation of navigation satellites

Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system will soon increase: European Space Agency (ESA) announced the coming launch of Galileo SATs 5-6 on 21 August 2014, from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

These two satellites, becoming operative in autumn, will join the four satellites already orbiting: two were launched in October 2011 and two one year later.

ESA and its partner, France's "Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales" (CNES), submitted the satellites to multiple end-to-end system compatibility tests, while the Launch and Early Operations Phase is run from ESA’s Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

Galileo SATs 7-8 are scheduled for the end of 2014, after which the program anticipate... read more

Publishing Date: 18/08/2014
The Working Group discusses international harmonization

UN-SPIDER, together with representatives of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the European Commission (EC), SERTIT, ITHACA and the US Geological Survey (USGS), participated in a meeting of the International Working Group on Satellite-based Emergency Mapping (IWG-SEM) in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. The meeting took place from 20 to 21 May 2014 under the chairmanship of ITHACA. On the last day of the event, the chairmanship was handed over to DLR according to IWG-SEM's... read more

Publishing Date: 17/06/2014
Welcoming remarks were delivered by UNOOSA's director Ms Simonetta Di Pippo

UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER and its partners, the German Aerospace Center, the German Ministry of Economics and Energy and Secure World Foundation, successfully held the "United Nations/Germany Expert Meeting on Flood and Drought Risk Reduction" in Bonn, Germany from 5 to 6 June 2014. The event brought together more than 60 international experts from Asia, Africa, America and Europe, who are involved in disaster risk management, remote sensing, and hydrology and drought management. The meeting concluded with the presentation of a set of recommendations regarding how best to promote the use of space-based... read more

Publishing Date: 05/06/2014
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the 1000 UN staff working in Bonn

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, visited the UN premises in Bonn, Germany, on 31 January 2014, where one of UN-SPIDER's offices is located. The Secretary General met with high-level representatives of Bonn-based UN agencies, including the Directors of UNFCCC, UNCCD, UNV and the Head of the UN-SPIDER Bonn Office, and addressed the UN staff in a town hall meeting. He particularly highlighted three topics that are of high relevance to the Bonn-based organisations, namely the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, the on-going process concerning the elaboration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the on-going process regarding a new global climate change agreement.

The Secretary General recognized the important work that agencies in Bonn are carrying out on themes related to the sustainable use of the... read more

Publishing Date: 31/01/2014
Realistic storm surge models play a crucial role when natural disasters strike

During 5 and 6 December 2013, a major storm passed through northern Europe coinciding with a period of high tides in the North Sea and resulting in extremely high sea levels – a ‘storm surge’. The effects of the storm surge resulted for the United Kingdom in the highest sea levels since the 1953 North Sea Floods, while parts of Hamburg were flooded in Germany. ESA’s CryoSat satellite passed over Kattegat and its radar altimeter measured the storm surge, providing an estimate of total water levels. The observations collected matched predictions, which helped to confirm the models.

Realistic storm surge models can play a crucial role when natural disasters strike. Proof of their importance was recently demonstrated by... read more

Publishing Date: 13/12/2013
Climate Risk Index may serve as a red flag for the most vulnerable regions

In November 2013 Germanwatch published the 9th edition of the Global Climate Risk Index for which the most recent data available —from 1993 to 2012— were taken into account. The Global Climate Risk Index 2014 analyses to what extent the impacts of weather-related loss events have affected countries around the globe.

This year's edition of the Climate Risk Index reconfirms that less developed countries are generally more affected than industrialised countries. In the year of 2012 Haiti, the Philippines and Pakistan were the most affected countries, while for the period that goes from 1993 to 2012 Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti rank highest.Furthermore, weather-related loss events are called to become more frequent or more... read more

Publishing Date: 12/11/2013
MUSES will be the first commercial Earth-sensing platform on ISS.

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and its partner Teledyne Brown Engineering signed an agreement on 1 October 2013 to develop an instrument for the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES), which will be mounted on the International Space Station (ISS).

"Aerospace has no greater task than to observe Earth and its ecosystems from space. It is effective to use existing platforms, such as the ISS, as carriers of Earth observation instruments," explained Professor Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the DLR Executive Board. "We are delighted at the formation of this partnership between science and industry, which through... read more

Publishing Date: 09/10/2013
The German Bight in the Wide Scan mode

The German TerraSAR-X radar satellite, operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Astrium, has been switched into a new wide-angle view mode allowing the satellite to record image strips over 200 kilometres wide. "The satellite does so by sweeping this large area in multiple stages, very quickly pivoting the radar beam numerous times across the direction of flight," explains DLR mission manager Stefan Buckreuss. For example, the image of the German Bight shows the Frisian Islands from Borkum to Wangerooge and cities such as Wilhelmshaven and Bremen. This new ‘wide-angle’ mode is of particular interest to oceanographers, who will be able to use it to investigate the tidal range, changes to mudflats, shipping movements, wave... read more

Publishing Date: 16/09/2013
Over fifty space technology and disaster and risk management experts

The report for the UN-SPIDER Expert Meeting on the use of space-based information for Early Warning Systems is now available. Having taken place from 24 to 26 June 2013, the meeting had brought together fifty two space technology and disaster management experts representing national, regional and international organizations, internationally active private companies and included representatives of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices in Bonn Germany.

The report outlines the outcomes of the meeting, including the results of the discussion breakout groups on which a great emphasis had been placed for this meeting. The participants had discussed ways in which space applications and... read more

Publishing Date: 12/08/2013

Yesterday, UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) alongside other UN agencies located in Bonn discussed with 80 astronauts about how space technologies can contribute to sustainable development and the environment.

Two key note presentations and a panel comprised of astronauts and UN experts emphasized that Space-based information allow for detailed insights into the development on our planet for example regarding climate change, land degradation, biodiversity or natural hazards. The experts pointed out how we can track and monitor sea level rise,... read more

Publishing Date: 05/07/2013
Participants of the UN-SPIDER Expert Meeting on Early Warning Systems

On 26 June 2013, the UN-SPIDER Programme wrapped up a two-day expert meeting focusing on space-based applications in Early Warning Systems. Taking into consideration the role of early warning systems in minimizing damages and losses in case of disasters, UN-SPIDER co-organized the meeting with the Government of Germany and the German Aerospace Center (DLR); with the support of Secure World Foundation (SWF) and the German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK).  The Expert Meeting brought together fifty two space technology and disaster management experts representing national, regional and international organizations, internationally active private companies and included representatives of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices.

The goal of the meeting was... read more

Publishing Date: 26/06/2013
Soil moisture from SMOS

Massive floods have heavily affected regions in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and other European countries over the past days taking at least five human lives and causing damages of a yet undetermined extent. In order to better prepare for such floods in the future, satellites such as ESA's SMOS could help to improve the accuracy of flood prediction by measuring the soil moisture. Prior to the torrential rains, SMOS showed that soils in Germany were showing record levels of moisture – in fact, the highest ever observed. The picture shows the wet soils in blues and the dryer soils in yellows.

ESA's Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission monitors the amount of water held in the surface layers of the soil and the concentration of salt in the top layer of seawater. This information is helping... read more

Publishing Date: 07/06/2013
Floods in Saxony in 2008

The International Charter Space and Major Disasters was activated for Germany in order to provide current satellite information for the floods in Saxony and Bavaria. Torrential rainfall in the South of Germany had caused rapid increase of river levels over the weekend.

A state of emergency has been declared in the cities of Passau and Rosenheim. The Bavaria flood alert service forecasts heavy rains to worsen, affecting the Danube and Inn rivers. Other affected states are Saxony, Thuringia and Baden-Wuerttemberg. Emergency and rescue efforts are under way, and the army has been deployed to support flood affected areas after reaching... read more

Publishing Date: 03/06/2013
DLR Space Administration

Bureaucracy-free assistance in the event of an emergency – this is the aim of the 15 space agencies united within the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters'. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been a member of this network since October 2010, and, on 16 April 2013, will take over as chair of the Charter for six months.

"With its expertise in Earth observation, Germany is an important contributor to... read more

Publishing Date: 16/04/2013

From the research stage to full operation – The Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) is now on call around the clock. This service facility established in 2004 provides up-to-the minute satellite-based maps for activities related to natural and environmental disasters, humanitarian aid, and civil security worldwide. It is a service of DLR’s German Remote Sensing Data Center. On 22 January 2013 DLR in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) officially launched regular ZKI operations.

"Civilian... read more

Publishing Date: 25/01/2013

Astrium is preparing a new technology mission for the maintenance and disposal of satellites. At the ILA Berlin Air Show, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) Space Administration announced that Astrium (Friedrichshafen) will be prime contractor for the definition phase of the DEOS (German orbital servicing mission) project. The DEOS project will for the first time demonstrate technologies for the controlled in-orbit disposal of a defective satellite. The definition phase is the last, decisive step before construction begins on the space vehicles themselves.

Publishing Date: 21/09/2012

The second Metop satellite was launched yesterday, 17 September 2012 from the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, atop a Russian Soyuz launcher, as planned. Metop-B will ensure the continuity of the weather and atmospheric monitoring service provided by its predecessor Metop-A, which has been circling the globe from pole to pole, 14 times a day, since 2006 and has now exceeded its design lifetime. The Soyuz-Fregat vehicle lifted off at 16:28 GMT on Monday, 17 September. The Fregat upper stage manoeuvred to release the satellite into a... read more

Publishing Date: 18/09/2012

On 15 June 2007, the German TerraSAR-X radar satellite was launched from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan marking the beginning of a new era in German remote sensing. In its fifth year in space TerraSAR-X has served its planned life-span, but is expected to continue functioning for several years. "TerraSAR-X has now been operating almost flawlessly for five years. The satellite's propellant consumption has been low, the solar arrays and radar instrument are in good condition, and all of the redundant systems are still available. We could not have hoped for more," states Michael Bartusch, TerraSAR-X mission Project Manager at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

TerraSAR-X can survey Earth regardless of... read more

Publishing Date: 18/06/2012

Germany has had a long tradition in the area of geological hazards (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mass movements, subsidence). The Royal Prussian Geological Survey was established in 1873, and by 1975 the Survey was transformed into the Federal Institute for Geo-Sciences and Natural Resources of Germany (BGR). Over the decades, BGR has provided technical advisory support to many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America regarding risks related to geological hazards.

Recognizing the technical expertise of BGR when it comes to such geologic risks; UN-SPIDER conducted a visit to BGR to explore opportunities for cooperation. The visit allowed UN-SPIDER to present its activities to staff of BGR, and to become aware of on-going and planned activities by BGR scientists in Pakistan, Indonesia and Latin America; as well as to become aware of examples regarding the use of... read more

Publishing Date: 02/05/2012

From 24-26 April, the UN-SPIDER Programme carried out its Fifth United Nations International UN-SPIDER Bonn Workshop on Disaster Management and Space Technology. The workshop focused on strengthening global synergies through knowledge management, portals and networks bringing together more than fifty experts from Australia, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Among them were representatives from the UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices in Algeria, Colombia and Kenya. It provided the forum for UN-SPIDER to gather elements to update its knowledge management strategy, particularly regarding the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal.

Co-organized by the German... read more

Publishing Date: 27/04/2012

On 13-15 March 2012 high-ranking worldwide speakers from industry, science and governments dealing with satellite navigation came together for the Munich Satellite Navigation Summit. The summit included plenary discussions among invited speakers and presentations on the main activities in worldwide satellite navigation systems. Emphasizing a future trend in satellite navigation, this year's summit focused on GNSS and security in the user segment. The discussions were held on the long term plans to provide increased benefits from multiple constellations and alternate position navigation and time sources.

Over the past decade, the summit has established itself as the premier European venue for high-level discussion of the world's GNSS programs and policies. During that time the conference in Germany, which concluded its most recent iteration on March 15, has... read more

Publishing Date: 23/03/2012

ESA and Eurockot today signed contracts for launching two ESA satellites: Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-3A will fly in 2013 on Rockot vehicles from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia for Europe’s GMES programme.

The contract signing by Matthias Oehm, Chief Executive Officer of Eurockot Launch Services GmbH, and Volker Liebig, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes, took place at the historic Chamber of Commerce of Bremen, Germany.
The Senator for Economics, Labour and Ports of the Free and Hanseatic City of Bremen, Martin Günthner, and the Chief Executive Officer of Astrium Space Transportation, Alain Charmeau, were also in attendance.

“With the launch of the first suite of Sentinels, a... read more

Publishing Date: 09/02/2012

After a year in service, the German Earth observation satellite TanDEM-X, together with its twin satellite, TerraSAR-X, have completely mapped the entire land surface of Earth for the first time. The data is being used to create the world’s first single-source, high-precision, 3D digital elevation model of Earth. The German Aerospace Center... read more

Publishing Date: 17/01/2012

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