When a disaster occurs, situational awareness is imperative in decision making for response and emergency support. Information is needed on the scale of damage in an area and the location of the affected population, along with logistical information such as the location of hospitals, undamaged roads and bridges and communication infrastructure. In the days and weeks following a disaster, information concerning the international agencies and NGOs operating in the area and the distribution of resources is needed to ensure aid reaches those who need it most and efforts are not duplicated, wasting precious time. Disaster managers and responders require timely and accurate information to understand and communicate the situation on the ground to others.
UN-SPIDER organized this Expert Meeting with the support and cooperation of the Government of Austria (through the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology of Austria) and the Secure World Foundation. It brought together 72 experts and practitioners from 21 countries and was organised back-to-back with the International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM 2011) (http://crisismappers.net/page/iccm-geneva-2011).
Prospective users of European space systems for civil security and defense purposes have said their top priorities are quicker response to emergencies and more assets under European, as opposed to U.S.
Haitian President René Préval met Friday (January 22, 2010) with a team of faculty, graduate students, and graduates from Boston University, who used maps and satellite photos depicting the destruction of Port-au-Prince block by block and house by house to demonstrate how immediate decisions on rebuilding the city will affect the long-term future of the country.