The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has prepared an atlas on the areas affected by the 26 December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, which has proven to be very useful to FAO teams and to Italian and other European officials and non governmental organizations working in the devastated zones. The Tsunami Atlas was prepared using images collected from FAO databases and completed by major spatial data sources on the web, which includes raw satellite images, interpreted satellite images, topographic maps, thematic maps and geo-statistics.
FAO remote sensing expert, Lantieri added that some of the satellite images showing areas affected by the tsunami have been interpreted by experts with the help of GIS analysis. They show land features and details up to one meter of resolution in some cases. The topographic maps which provide information on terrain, roads, villages have also been made available at 1:250000 scale, and a 1:50000 scale. In addition, the Atlas displays maps and statistics providing information on the local climate, the cropping calendars, levels of malnutrition, as well as the latest figures provided by aid workers on human losses and material damage. These maps and images developed by the GPS technology can be also used to incorporate field information collected by relief organizations.
The Atlas will soon be distributed widely in hard copy throughout the tsunami-affected countries, including national ministries, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations. Many of the images can be viewed and understood by non-cartographic experts, and are made available in most common image computer format. An effort is underway to extend the Atlas to the other affected countries and to regularly update the maps and satellite images. It is expected that the Atlas will become a key reference cartographic document for operators working at the planning and field levels in the Tsunami affected areas.