1 Jun 2012
JRC chairs newly established International Working Group on satellite based emergency mapping
A new international working group was formally established in April 2012 to support disaster response by improving international cooperation and defining best practises and professional standards in satellite based emergency mapping. The JRC will chair the group for the first six months.
Earth observation satellites are more and more used in support to disaster and emergency relief operations. Today many players make use of satellite imagery to map and assess large scale disaster situations. Global cooperation, best practises, shared technical standards and protocol are, therefore, needed to improve satellite based emergency mapping.
On April 16-17 the JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) hosted in Ispra, italy, 15 international experts to establish the International Working Group on satellite based emergency mapping (IWG-SEM). The workshop gathered representatives from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Group on Earth Observation (GEO), United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), SERVIR, German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Canadian Space Agency (CSA)/Athena Global, SERTIT, ITHACA and Sentinel Asia. This was a follow-up to the first meeting hosted by DLR in Hohenkammer in September 2011.
The vision of IWG-SEM was defined as “Supporting disaster response by improving international cooperation in satellite based emergency mapping”. The mission statement that the participants agreed upon refers to establishing best practices between emergency-mapping programmes (like International Charter, Sentinel Asia and GMES Initial Operations – Emergency Management Service) to enable better collaboration and capacity coordination, with a view to also define jointly a set of professional standards for emergency mapping and data use.
It was agreed that the group meets twice a year for plenary and technical meetings. The chair of the group is planned to be rotated every 6 to 12 months. The first chairing period was entrusted to the JRC. The JRC will thus coordinate the group communication (via teleconferences and online forum) and the group’s inclusion of other relevant organizations. The JRC will chair the group till the next meeting planned for October 2012 in Washington.