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9 Mar 2015 | News

Improving Rapid Response Mapping and Information System

With the increasing frequency of natural disaster events across the globe, the role of space technology has now become integral in disaster risk management and in reducing the impact on lives and properties by providing timely information.

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One of the main challenges for countries prone to disaster events, such as Nepal, is lack of real-time data and how to use space-based information.

To address these issues, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), under the framework of SERVIR-Himalaya, collaborated with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), Nepal to conduct a day-long workshop on Rapid Response Mapping and Information system on 4 March 2015.

Speaking at the opening session, Dr Eklabya Sharma, ICIMOD’s Director of Programme Operations, highlighted the importance of coordination among various players during disaster events. He said such workshops can contribute in building coordination among different players.

The workshop was successful in bringing together representatives from 20 agencies engaged in disaster risk management to share their experiences and ways for effective utilization of space technology and information in the advent of disaster. During their presentations, JAXA highlighted activities under Sentinel Asia (SA) and its contribution to the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters (IDC), and AIT highlighted the important role space technology can play in supporting disaster management and demonstrated online mapping tool.

Participants discussed on the institutional mechanism for emergency response in Nepal, rapid response mapping activities in ICIMOD, the role of space technology in disaster management, and the Disaster Information Management System (DIMS) developed by ICIMOD under the framework of SERVIR-Himalaya. Participants were introduced to information systems that support disaster risk management. Information needs of various agencies that are directly involved in disaster response and management were also identified.

As a disaster prone country, Nepal has benefited from the IDC and SA in the past. SA is a JAXA initiative which promotes international cooperation to monitor natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region. It uses earth observation satellites and other space technologies to collect disaster-related information, and shares it over the internet.

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