No matter what is said about the human spirit, there is one thing that will always ring true: Whenever another fellow human being is suffering, people will reach out to him or her. It’s just encoded into our nature. We hate to see people in pain. Believe it or not, even the principles and technology of GIS can help in this regard.
It has been used to help locate people in times of natural disaster and even during times of war. A prime example of this was the recent war on terrorism, where satellite images were used to create very detailed maps to help the refugees caught up in the middle of it all find their homes again.
Now, the European Space Imaging has partnered with Planetek Italia in an effort to help provide relief services to those devastated by the earthquake which struck just last week on August 24th, about 100 kilometers’ northeast of Rome. It was a magnitude 6.2 earthquake, which caused extensive damage to numerous towns and killing hundreds of people.
The Italian government did not waste any time in trying to locate the missing and deceased people. On that same day, the partnership between these two entities sprang into action. Within just a few hours of this natural disaster, the first 40-centimeter image resolutions of the affected areas were being produced and were being distributed to the emergency relief agencies.
According to Giovanni Sylos Labini, the CEO of Planetek Italia, “The ability of satellites to collect images over large areas, the view from above of the areas affected by an emergency and the comparison with previous images helps to quickly recognize the changes, and understand where to address first aid.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/planetek-italia-and-european-space-imaging-support-earthquake-emergenc/474466).
These images of the villages and towns affected by the earthquake were also distributed to other humanitarian agencies, such as the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (also known as “HOT”) in order to help emergency and relief funds get to victims and their families. The Copernicus EMS Team is also providing the Italian Civil Protection agency damage assessment maps as well of the affected areas.
GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 7000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data.