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Space agencies form group for emergency mapping

Italy: Approximately 20 representatives from different space agencies congregated in Ispra, Italy, and formed International Working Group on satellite based emergency mapping (IWG-SEM). Member agencies include European Commission – Joint Research Centre (EU-JRC), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Group on Earth Observations (GEO), United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), SERVIR, German Space Agency (DLR), CSA/Athena Global, SERTIT, ITHACA and Sentinel Asia.

The vision of IWG-SEM was defined as “Supporting disaster response by improving international cooperation in satellite-based emergency mapping”. The mission statement that the participants agreed upon refers to establishing best-practices between emergency-mapping programmes to enable better collaboration and capacity coordination, with a view to also define jointly a set of professional standards for emergency mapping and data use.

A content management system and online forum will be set up by the European Joint Research Centre (JRC) for document sharing and collaboration, and monthly teleconferences will be also held. It was proposed that the group should meet twice a year during one plenary meeting and one technical meeting, with the next meeting suggested to be held 9-10 October 2012 in Washington.