The key challenge for disaster response is to provide usable information in...

The key challenge for disaster response is to provide usable information in timely fashion

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10 December, 2014 Hyderabad, India: While delivering the Millennium Lecture during the ISPRS TC VIII Mid Term Symposium and the Annual ISPRS and ISG Conventions in Hyderabad, Dr V K Dadhwal made an extensive presentation outlining the gamut of data and services provided by NRSC for disaster management and response in India. He iterated that information does not manage disaster, but people on ground do, and they can be supported by information.

Dr V K Dadhwal, Director – NRSC delivering the Millennium Lecture during the ISPRS TC VIII Mid Term Symposium and the Annual ISPRS and ISG Conventions in Hyderabad.

He said the main challenge for disaster response is to provide usable information in timely fashion. ISRO manages this task by setting up the Disaster Management Support Programme providing communication, weather and EO satellites data. India also contributes at the global level by sharing data with International Charter, Sentinel Asia, UNESCAP etc.

Dr Dadhwal mainly covered three major disasters viz., floods, landslides and open fires in his presentation. He explained in great detail contribution of NRSC to various disaster management initiatives that India conducts each year, including flood management, for which NRSC produces duration and depth class inundation maps. NRSC has provided multiyear inundation satellite based cumulative flooded area map, which shows that more than 11 million hectares land has been flooded between 1998 – 2013. NRSC is now attempting to produce flood hazard zonation map and providing flood prediction and forecast of rain using models. Dr Dadhwal said that in case of flooding, within 12 hours flood inundation maps are made available to all relevant agencies automatically and updates are shared on Bhuvan, the geo-portal of ISRO, as well. NRSC will also provide flood prone assessment maps using historical observations, integration of flood level with DEMs and hydraulic modelling. NRSC has also developed mobile applications that push data on damage of assets to appropriate agency for quick restorative action.

Talking about landslides, Dr Dadhwal said that more than 5,000 landslides affecting 12,500 sq km area is mapped. NRSC also provides a landslide early warning system to users and has developed a glacial lakes and water bodies monitoring system for the Himalayan region.

In case of open fires (forest or agricultural), there is extensive use of remotely sensed satellite data for near real time fire detection (around 30 min of acquisition of MODIS, 4 times/ 24 hr). This data is disseminated rapidly to Forest Survey of India and field managers to avert life and property loss. Bhuvan again acts as a repository of rich data of open fires including density, duration and variability across years, he added.

Dr Dadhwal concluded his presentation by elucidating case of the three recent major disasters India experienced in the past two years including the Kedarnath 2013 flooding and landslide, which is considered the worst disaster since the 2004 Tsunami, the Srinagar floods of 2014 and the recent Hudhud Cyclone.

Dr Dadhwal concluded that NRSC has been continuously striving to create tools for better disaster prediction and mitigation by merging a variety of spatio-temporal data sets and developing analytical and modelling techniques.

Source: Our Correspondent