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ITHACA contributed to a Review on "Global trends in Satellite-based Emergency Mapping" published on Science journal.

Fabio Giulio Tonolo on July 15, 2016

A Review on "Global trends in Satellite-based Emergency Mapping" was published on the Science journal special issue on Natural Hazard dated 15 July 2016

A Review on "Global trends in Satellite-based Emergency Mapping" was published on the Science journal special issue on Natural Hazard dated 15 July 2016 (URL:, DOI: 10.1126/science.aad8728).

ITHACA is proud to be among the Institutions that contributed to the Review, which was carried out, under the guidance of DLR, by an international group of researchers from leading organizations active in the Satellite-based Emergency Mapping (SEM) domain since several years, i.e.:

  • German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany.
  • Information Technology for Humanitarian Assistance, Cooperation and Action (ITHACA), Italy.
  • Human Rights Watch, Switzerland.
  • European Commission - Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC), Italy.
  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS),USA.
  • Gulich Institute - Córdoba National University (CONAE),Argentina. 
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan.
  • Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand. 
  • United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Austria. 
  • National Disaster Reduction Center of China (NDRCC), China. 
  • Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), Switzerland.
  • National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Nigeria.
  • Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES), France.
  • Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), Kenya.
  • European Space Agency (ESA), Belgium.
  • Université catholoque de Louvain, Belgium.

The Review, lead by Stefan Voigt from DLR, is focused on global trends in SEM from 2000 to 2014, analyzing more than 1000 incidents in which satellite monitoring was used for major disaster situations. A synthesis of spatial patterns and temporal trends in global SEM efforts is provided, showing that satellite-based emergency mapping is most intensively deployed in Asia and Europe and follows well the geographic, physical and temporal distributions of global natural disasters. An outlook on the future use of Earth observation technology for disaster response and mitigation is presented, putting past and current developments into context and perspective.

Fabio Giulio Tonolo from Ithaca was mainly involved, as second author, in the analysis of the spatial distribution of SEM activations at global level and in the management of the geospatial component of the collected information.

The involvement of Ithaca in a Review published in the Science Journal is an important recognition of the role played by Ithaca in the Emergency Mapping domain, started since 2006 in support of UN WFP emergency response activity.
Ithaca is currently operationally active in Emergency Mapping as part of the Service Provider Consortium of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (© European Union, 2012-2016) - Rapid Mapping as well as active member of the International Working Group on Satellite-based Emergency Mapping (IWG-SEM, chaired by Ithaca from April 2013 to May 2014).

DLR press release available here.

Image: "Global distribution and density of satellite based emergency mapping activations from 2000 to 2014" (Credits: Josh Lyons)