Night view of Italy. Image: NASA

The COPERNICUS Emergency Management Service Mapping was activated on 26 October 2016 due to a 5.4 earthquake affecting Italy's central region. Although there are no fatalities the tremor has left destruction and people sleeping on the street or improvised shelters, reported RT. For more RT information, click here.

The Guardian informed that approximately 200 replicas were felt during the night. The epicenter was close to Visso, a town in central Marche. More details from this daily, click here

Publishing Date: 27/10/2016
Screenshot of the video from DW. Tomorrow today section. Courtesy of DW Germany’s Public international broadcaster.

Radar Satellite images offer precise 3D pictures of earth. The Crises Control Team of the German Aerospace Center puts together radar imagery on natural disasters like floods or earthquakes. This information is essential for emergency services to know where people are in danger or where help is required. To watch the complete video click here

Publishing Date: 19/10/2016
Image courtesy of USGS, ShakeMap.

In the early morning of the 24 August 2016 an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 occurred in the central area of the Italian Republic, affecting the regions of Lazio, Abruzzo and Umbria.  

More than 4,300 rescuers have been called to come to the assistance of the population. The Copernicus Emergency Management Service has been activated. The Italian Civil Protection is operating at the moment while the death toll rose to 247 on the 25 of August, including many children.

Click here for the Copernicus EMS activation website and to have access to all the maps generated. 


Publishing Date: 25/08/2016
Republic of Portugal, image courtesy of NASA by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) detected and captured images of numerous fires occurring in the western region of Portugal on the 6th of August.

Strong winds spread the flames on the west coast and hundreds of fires were then noticed on the 11th of August. Three people died in the city of Funchal in Madeira Island and thousands have been displaced (

The government of Portugal believes most of the fires have been set by arsonists. Several suspects have been detained by the authorities.

The South of... read more

Publishing Date: 12/08/2016
Copernicus Emergency Management Service (© activation_2016 European Union), [EMSR174] Map Title: Delineation Map.

Skopje, the capital city of the Republic of Macedonia, was impacted by heavy rains on the 7th of August which led to floods in various parts of the city especially in the northern suburbs.

The COPERNICUS programme of the European Union gathered some information about the floods and provided maps of the flooded area. Around 157 hectares of the city are flooded and the most affected areas are the villages of Stajkovci and Haracinovo, as well as Skopje's suburbs of Butel, Cento and upper Lisice.   22 fatalities were confirmed by the authorities and more than 1000 residents were displaced. The water level reached 1.5 meters above its normal level in some areas.

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated on the 8th of August and a team has been deployed to Skopje to assist in response operations. 

Publishing Date: 09/08/2016
Floods in France. Image with courtesy of Philippe Derrien

Massive floods recently affected Europe and the United-States. In the case of the United States, the Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) system - using data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and from the Japan Aerospace Agency (JAXA) - recorded rainfalls triggered by tropical depression Bonnie. 

Excessive rainfall affected different regions of Texas, Oklahoma and South Carolina in the United States. On the 31st May 2016, the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters was activated at the request of the U.S. Geological Survey on behalf of the Texas Division of Emergency Management. This tropical cyclone caused the death of at least nine persons and flooded hundreds of homes. 

For the European continent, the emergency management system Copernicus, which is funded by the European Union (EU), was activated. Many regions of Belgium, France and Germany have been flooded... read more

Publishing Date: 13/06/2016
Catalonia Forest Fire. Image courtesy of jordi_martos Pixabay website

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) has developed a system called PHAROS (Project on a Multi-Hazard Open Platform for Satellite Based Downstream Services) to support crisis managers, operation managers and relief workers during disaster response operations. This system collects and shares data to various crisis tasks forces and has been sponsored for three years under the EU’s 7th Framework Program for Research and Technical Development (2007-2013). It also includes several partners from DLR y and other European institutes.

Thanks to its holistic approach and its modularity, PHAROS can be adapted to different disaster scenarios using new modules and additional sources of information can be added when needed. To demonstrate PHAROS, DLR selected a type of disaster which occurs frequently in Europe.

In early March, three forest fires were ignited in a controlled manner in Solsona, Spain, to test PHAROS and the local task... read more

Publishing Date: 20/05/2016
This year El Niño is the strongest since 15 years (Image: NASA).
During a news conference in Geneva on 16 November 2015, the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Mr. Michel Jarraud, commented that the “Severe droughts and devastating flooding being experienced throughout the tropics and sub-tropical zones bear the hallmarks of this El Niño, which is the strongest for more than 15 years.” He further emphasized that “We are better prepared for this event than we have ever been in the past.”
During the next months, El Niño is expected to strengthen to become one of the three strongest reported El Niño events within the last 65 years. Most affected countries are already taking national preparation efforts in agriculture, fisheries, water and health, as well as disaster management, to enlighten population, save lives, and to reduce the risk of economic damage, based on advice from National... read more
Publishing Date: 17/11/2015
Representatives of the autumn IWG-SEM meeting 2015 participated in-person as via web (Image:Fabio Giulio Tonolo/ITHACA).
On 9 and 10 November 2015, UN-SPIDER hosted the autumn meeting of the International Working Group on Satellite-based Emergency Mapping (IWG-SEM). The meeting included representatives of the German Aerospace Center (DLR); the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC); the UN Cartographic Section; the Service Régional de Traitement d'Image et de Télédétection (SERTIT); the Information Technology for Humanitarian Assistance, Cooperation and Action (ITHACA); the Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization; the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT); the University of Bonn; the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC); the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). 
In their biannual meeting, the group discussed several topics including map metadata standardization, GeoRSS services, clarifications and procedures related to the... read more
Publishing Date: 10/11/2015
These days, the Champs-Elysées in Paris hosts a Climate Cube (Image: ESA).

These days, the Champs-Elysées in Paris hosts a Climate Cube presenting information on the contribution of space for studying climate change, right before the upcoming COP21 climate change conference in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015.

The Climate Cube presents a high-resolution satellite image of Paris and surroundings, screens display a series of videos on space and climate and other screens give an overview of European satellite missions measuring the ‘essential climate variables’. 

All information demonstrate the importance of satellites and their role in understanding climate change and provide answers on how space is playing a major role in climate research and climate change mitigation.

The Climate Cube is located on the Champs-Élysées, in front of the Grand Palais. The nearest metro station is Champs-Elysées – Clemenceau. The... read more

Publishing Date: 27/10/2015
The World Disasters Report 2015 will be a key publication for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit 2016 (Source: UNIS).

On October 5 2015 the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Austrian Red Cross, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Norwegian Embassy launched the 2015 World Disasters Report in Vienna. 

The annual World Disasters Report addresses current and future challenges, trends and innovations in disaster risk reduction and crisis management, by using evidence-based research. This year, the report focalizes on difficulties and challenges experienced by local actors in times of humanitarian response. The report calls for a "localization" of humanitarian aid, as well as a closer and equal relationship between international and local actors. 

Simonetta Di Pippo,... read more

Publishing Date: 23/10/2015
Cyclone Koppu over the Philippines (Image: NASA).

In the last days the Copernicus Emergency Management Service was activated by the Philippines affected by the tropical cyclone Koppu, Croatia affected by floods in the Karlovac region and Italy affected by floods and landslides in the Campania region. 

On October 17 the Republic of the Philippines was struck by the powerful tropical cyclone Koppu, causing severe damages in many provinces of the Philippines. The cyclone provoked landslides and floods, damaging trees and houses, forcing thousands of people to evacuate, several casualties had been reported. The Copernicus Emergency Management Service was activated on October 17 requesting delineation maps; two delineation maps had been delivered showing the flood extent.

Since October 15 the Republic of Croatia experiences heavy rainfall in the Karlovac region, causing floods and affecting buildings and roads. The Copernicus Emergency Management Service was activated on October 16 requesting delineation maps; five... read more

Publishing Date: 21/10/2015
Stephen O’Brien says that satellite communications are the only technology immune to natural disasters (Image: UN Geneva).

On 14 October at the World Humanitarian Summit Global Consultation in Geneva, the satellite operators Eutelsat, Hispasat, Inmarsat, Intelsat, SES, Thuraya and Yahsat signed the Crisis Connectivity Charter in partnership with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC).

In the past years global natural disasters showed an increasing need for safe communication in the face of crisis. Therefore the Crisis Connectivity Charter formulates terms and protocols to enhance emergency response through the access of satellite-based communications. In times of crisis, satellite-based communication serves as a first instance to organize and facilitate logistics, medical care and emergency relief.

The principles of the charter focus on the access to satellite-based communication for humanitarian assistance during disaster management and the access to pre-positioned satellite equipment. Further the charter... read more

Publishing Date: 16/10/2015
TerraSAR-X satellite monitoring Europe (Image: ESA)

Airbus Defence and Space and ESA have signed an agreement that enables Copernicus Data Warehouse to continue receiving TerraSAR-X satellite information until the end of 2020. This space artifact offers data used for addressing emergency and security related issues, reliable monitoring needs, and land cover change with high reliability and accuracy to European public institutions.

TerraSAR-X, launched in 2007, is an Earth observation satellite developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and EADS Astrium. Airbus Defence and Space owns the commercial distribution rights for the satellite's imagery and has been collaborating with ESA since 2008. The new contract includes datasets in the area of maritime monitoring, as well as additional datasets for further maritime applications, particularly sea ice monitoring.

The Copernicus Data Warehouse is a portal that provides access to all users to data gathered by the Copernicus missions through a single harmonized interface.... read more

Publishing Date: 30/07/2015
Satellite image of Europe (Image: NASA)

EuroGeographics has signed a four-year agreement with the European Commission to provide geospatial information to the European Union’s statistical office, Eurostat. Thus, the company gives access to the European Commission’s staff to information through its geographical information service, GISCO.

The geographic data will support policy making related to protection against natural hazards, agricultural and environmental monitoring, transport, and economic growth at a regional and national level, according to Ekkehard Petri, Team Leader ‘Geographical Information’ at Eurostat.

The data includes administrative units and statistical regions as well as 1:250 000 scale topo-geographic information from National Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registry Authorities, such as EuroBoundaryMap and EuroRegionalMap. 

“Confidence that the information provided is consistent and comparable — regardless of its national source — is key. We are delighted to be providing Eurostat, and... read more

Publishing Date: 29/07/2015
French Riviera processed through infrared spectral channel, one of the first images captured by Sentinel-2A satellite (Image: ESA)

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on July 15 between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Environmental Agency (EEA) in order to share scientific expertise and technical data in the fields of Earth Observation and environmental monitoring through satellite imagery.

One of the novelties is the agreement on the employment of the brand-new Sentinel-2A satellite, developed and launched by ESA, for the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service, which is coordinated by EEA. The space artifact is the second satellite of the European Union’s Copernicus programme and is specifically designed for environmental monitoring by providing colourful high resolution imagery in 13 spectral bands.

Not only does it offer data for the traditional meteorological... read more

Publishing Date: 23/07/2015
Artistic representation of the Meteosat Third Generation (Image: ESA)

Arianespace will be in charge of the first launch services for the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) series of geostationary satellites after the signature of a contract with EUMETSAT.

The agreement has been signed few days following the successful launch of MSG-4. It has fixed the launches of MTG-I1 and MTG-S1 and proposed the option of MTG-I2 for the time period 2019-2023.

Arianespace will use the Ariane 5 ECA launchers placed in the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, to set into space the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) program.  It will significantly improve the services of forecasting high impact weather over Europe and Africa, currently delivered by the Meteosat Second Generation series.

The MTG satellites, developed in cooperation between EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency (ESA), will represent the highest level of complexity and innovation existing among the operational... read more

Publishing Date: 21/07/2015
MSG-4 being launched from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou (Image: ESA)

European Space Agency’s (ESA) latest weather satellite has been successfully launched and put into orbit from Ariane 5 launcher at the Kourou Space Station (French Guiana) on July 15. The space artifact, called MSG-4, is part of the Meteosat Second Generation series that offers meteorological information over Europe and Africa every 15 minutes and a ‘rapid scan’ imagery over Europe every five minutes.

Forty minutes after the launch, the satellite separated from the launcher and was set into orbit, but it would take 10 days until it will be raised into a geostationary orbit some 36 000 km above the equator, where its speed matches Earth’s rotation.

The satellite was designed, developed and put into orbit by ESA, but will be operated by its owner, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat).

Johann-Dietrich Woerner, ESA’s Director General, stated that “Tonight’s launch allows the continuation of high-quality observations... read more

Publishing Date: 16/07/2015
The new arrangement between China and EU will enhance remote sensing activities (Image: NASA)

China has signed an agreement with the European Union to enhance collaborative research in the field of remote sensing.

During the 17th bilateral summit between the European Union and the People's Republic of China that took place on Monday 29 June in Brussels, officials representing Europe’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Remote Sensing arranged a deal to closely cooperate in the area of remote sensing.

“Under this new agreement, the co-operation will be reinforced and extended to promising areas, such as air quality, human settlement detection and characterisation, land and soil mapping, land cover mapping, digital earth sciences and agricultural monitoring,” JRC announced.

Among the collaborative activities included in this arrangement are the exchange of scientific and technological information and... read more

Publishing Date: 02/07/2015
Iberian Peninsula satellite image (Image: ESA)

Deimos-2, Spain’s first Very High Resolution Earth Observation satellite launched on the 24th of June 2014, celebrates its first successful year in orbit. It has travelled more than 230 million km and recorded 18,000 images, covering an area of 3.2 million square km.

Its imagery can be applied to several activities, mainly to agricultural and environmental monitoring, water administration and disaster risk reduction and emergency response.

This satellite was developed and owned by the Spanish Elecnor and participates in the European Commissions´ Copernicus Emergency Management Services. Its data is included in the Copernicus data Warehouse and serves to carry out a sub-metric mapping of Europe.


Publishing Date: 25/06/2015
Sentinel 2A on the point of being launched (Image:ESA)

Sentinel 2A, the new satellite developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus, was successfully launched from the European Spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) on 23 June 2015 at 01:52 GMT. It separated from the stage into flight 54 minutes after the launch, its solar panel has already been deployed but it will only begin its missions in three or four months.

Sentinel 2A is the second satellite of the European Union’s Copernicus programme, weights 1.1 tonnes and was developed with a budget of 7.500 million euros, the highest for a civil Earth Observation satellite. It is specifically designed for environmental monitoring and will provide colourful high resolution imagery in 13 spectral bands.

It will allow displaying new land cover and change detection maps, disaster maps and leaf area index to chlorophyll content and other biogeophysical data. This would facilitate locating sites for refugee camps in humanitarian crises, monitoring the destruction or growth... read more

Publishing Date: 23/06/2015
The IASON project aimed to implement Earth observation in the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions (Image: NASA)

The IASON FP7 project has reached all its objectives and came to an end in May after its last event on April 22.

This project, a joint effort within the FP7 ENV programme had the main goal of implementing the usage and application of Earth observation in the fields of climate change, resource efficiency and raw materials management. The scope of the project was determined by two geographical areas, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions. The IASON project aimed to establish there a fixed network of scientific and non-scientific institutions, stakeholders and private sector enterprises.  

As described in its website: “IASON aims to build on the experiences gained by 5 FP7 funded projects, OBSERVEenviroGRIDSGEONETCabEGIDA, and ... read more

Publishing Date: 08/06/2015
Sentinel-2A in the cleanroom at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (Image: ESA/F. Gascon)

The European Copernicus programme is ready to launch its second satellite on 23 June.

The date for the Sentinel-2A to be launched was confirmed during an ESA and industry advisory board meeting over the past few days related to an investigation into Vega’s fairing separation and the replacement of a gas pressure sensor on the vehicle.

The new satellite that will be launched on 23 June at 01:52 GMT (03:52 CEST 23 June; 22:52 local time 22 June), from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. It will carry an innovative wide-swath, high-resolution multispectral imager with 13 spectral bands for a new perspective of land and vegetation on Earth.

The second satellite of the mission, Sentinel-2B is being prepared for launch in 2016.  

Publishing Date: 04/06/2015
Satellite image of UAE by DubaiSat-1 (Image: EIAST)

Deimos Space UK and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in the UAE have joined in a year-long project to get more valuable data from their satellites DubaiSat and Deimos.

As an article on Arabian Aerospace online news service reported, the “Smart Application for Feature extraction and 3D modelling using high resolution satellite Imagery” (SAFIY) project will use Earth observation (EO) data to monitor, and detect changes in vegetation, water, road networks and buildings in support of Dubai's “smart government” initiative.

Another objective expected from the cooperation is the development and melioration of mapping applications. Typical applications include products and services for agriculture, forestry, disaster monitoring, land use, surveillance and intelligence.

... read more

Publishing Date: 03/06/2015
According to the preliminary yield forecasts, significantly lower wheat yield are expected in 2015 (Image: SRI/NAS)

The Space Research Institute (SRI/NAS) in Ukraine and SSA Ukraine in cooperation with the UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office in Ukraine and Integration-Plus Ltd. have used satellite data to deliver geoinformation services for agriculture needs, including winter wheat yield preliminary forecast for 2015.

According to this preliminary yield forecast, based on satellite data as of 28 April 2015, significantly lower wheat yield compared to 2014 are expected in 2015. The yield reduction is expected to be in the range from 5% (Kyivska oblast) to 38% (Luhanska oblast). Wheat yield will be relatively low in regions that are the main wheat producers in Ukraine which can possibly lead to a significant yield reduction in wheat production on country level in 2015 compared to 2014.

For more detail, please refer to the... read more

Publishing Date: 01/06/2015
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