Friday, May 09, 2008

Free Landsat Images to Assess the Impact of Myanmar’s Cyclone Nargis

USGS is providing Landsat satellite imagery to aid rescue and recovery efforts in Myanmar in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis's landfall on May 3. International emergency response teams are using the Landsat images to assess the extent of flood damage caused by the cyclone in the affected region. The first maps of the area derived from the Landsat satellite were provided to waiting agencies within hours of the initial request. The USGS provides Landsat imagery to other participating agencies under an agreement known as the International Charter Space and Major Disasters (Space Charter).

One organization making immediate use of USGS Landsat data is the United Nations Institute for Training and Research Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT). The UNOSAT team consists of UN fieldworkers as well as satellite imagery experts, geographers, geologists, development experts, computer programmers and internet communications experts. Their team has developed maps showing the extent of the cyclone flooding and population estimates in the flooded regions.

When a natural disaster occurs, the Space Charter is enacted to provide satellite imagery and data to support humanitarian and disaster relief efforts. Charter participants, like the USGS, operate a 24-hour response desk to provide support for data collected by the participating organizations. Since its establishment in late 2000, the Space Charter has responded to more than 200 hazards events around the globe, including forest fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, oil spills and flooding.

The Space Charter is made up of an international group of participating space agencies dedicated to providing satellite images to those affected by natural or human-induced disasters. USGS Landsat satellite images can be viewed at

View more images of the devastating aftermath of the cyclone.

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