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Richmond, B.C. – Space-based imagery is being used to assess disaster areas and direct relief efforts to the hundreds of thousands of people struggling to survive in the wake of the December 26th 2004 tsunamis that hit South Asia
Canada’s RADARSAT-1 satellite has been acquiring and continues to acquire imagery over the devastated regions in support of these efforts by international governments and aid organizations.
Over 70 archived RADARSAT-1 images of the affected regions are being used as baseline information to be compared with the newly acquired imagery in order to locate and assess damage and to help direct relief and rescue efforts.
RADARSAT-1 provides synoptic coverage – up to 500 km by 500 km per image. This broad view is useful to highlight and map the dramatic changes and damage to coastlines due to impact of the tsunamis. In addition to supporting aid efforts, environmental agencies can use this data to understand the extent of destruction to the mangrove swamps and coral reefs that act as protective barriers to coastlines from wave erosion.
Equipped with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), RADARSAT-1 is collecting information over areas currently experiencing monsoon conditions (the sensor images through rain/clouds or darkness). This data is used to monitor and map flooding as well as to locate areas of standing water – potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying malaria.
“The true value of remote sensing is being demonstrated during this tragedy and devastation,” said John Hornsby, President of RADARSAT International. “By combining and using the different information content provided by the various optical and radar satellites, a more accurate picture of the situation is revealed and this is imperative for the continued efforts and success of the world’s largest humanitarian relief efforts.”
About RADARSAT International (www.rsi.ca)
RADARSAT International, an MDA company, is a global leader in providing data, information products and services from the majority of commercially available radar and optical Earth imaging satellites. These satellites include RADARSAT-1, ENVISAT, ERS, LANDSAT, IKONOS, QuickBird, EROS A, RESOURCESAT-1 and IRS. Our global markets include natural resource management and environmental monitoring, ice monitoring and mapping, agriculture, disaster management, and surveillance.
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