On March 11, 2011, a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan. Now the World Bank and the Government of Japan have launched a joint knowledge-sharing project called "Learning from Megadisasters". In the framework of this project, a study containing 32 thematic Knowledge Notes were published last week. They include six thematic clusters:
The coast of Costa Rica was struck on 5 September 2012 at 08:42 a.m. local time by a major earthquake with the epicenter located in the Nicoya Península. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) indicated a magnitude of 7.6. on the Richter scale. The epicenter is located very close to the surface, approximately in a depth of 10 kilometres.
GPS devices can be a powerful tool to quickly pinpoint the location and magnitude of strong earthquakes. In order to improve the use of GPS in responding to major earthquakes, the new Real-time Earthquake Analysis for Disaster (READI)
On 11 April 2012 a 8.6 magnitude earthquake occurred at 8.38 UTC, 437 km southwest of Banda Aceh in Indonesia and 33 km beneath the ocean floor, prompting a tsunami watch to be immediately issued for Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Crozet Islands, Diego Garcia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Kerguelen Islands, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Reunion, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
When a series of storms and twisters hit at least 10 states in the USA at the end of February, many victims used social media channels to report their status or those of neighbors and friends. That way they could indicate their exact location to family or search parties by just a single tweet or a facebook post. The app "Foursquare" for example allows users to "check in" to specific locations. Twitter's twittermap works similarly showing users' location on Google Maps. Facebook's Places page allow geotagging on Bing Maps.
On the anniversary of the japanese earthquake and tsunami Google Maps published new satellite imagery of the affected areas. The GeoEye high-resolution imagery covers the Northeastern coast from Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture down to Hitachi City in Ibaraki Prefecture. The imagery was taken in February and March 2012.
The top award at the Global Mobile Awards, presented in Barcelona yesterday, went to three Japanese operators for their "spirit of collaboration, technological ingenuity and human determination in the face of a disaster of immeasurable proportion".
Japan: Norihiro Sakamoto proposed a plan to make better use of existing satellites so that they could make quicker tsunami forecasts. This would involve using a quasi-zenith satellite system, whereby a satellite is always located near Japan's zenith, so that there is a continuous link with offshore tsunami observation devices.