Japan: Japan is planning to build a satellite-based communications network for disaster management, according to a report published in Nikkei. The idea behind building a network like this is, to avoiding a risk of repetition of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit the north-eastern part of the country.
In 2011, the calamity wiped out 29,000 cellular base stations and some 1.9 million landlines, making it extremely difficult for authorities to grasp conditions on the ground and coordinate rescue teams. Taking lessons from the past, the government, therefore, is intent of employing a set of satellites that go by the name Michibiki.
The first of these is already in orbit, complementing GPS satellites operated by the U.S. Department of Defense. Three more Michibikis are to be launched by the first half of fiscal 2017 – the year through March 2018 – followed by another trio by fiscal 2023.
This will create an accurate GPS system for Japan. The satellites under this system functions as relay stations, which can be used by the governments to connect disaster victims' smartphones with data terminals at the Japan Meteorological Agency, municipal offices, fire stations, hospitals and other organizations. The process will bypass ground-based communications infrastructure.
The system will follow the format of communication in text form. When a survivor requests help, the information will be relayed to a command center via the satellites. The message will then be passed on to local authorities and rescue workers. The satellite network will also relay earthquake warnings and evacuation advisories to individuals in remote areas.