Remotely sensed data from satellites realize their full value only if those who can benefit from the data know where to get the data and how to use it. Getting these data into the hands of those who can most benefit from it has been challenging, especially in the area of natural disasters such as floods where the data are needed only infrequently. In response, the WGDisasters Flood Pilot is leveraging and coordinating a number of ongoing projects in order to more effectively connect satellite data producers and users and thus encourage the effective use of satellite data in all phases of flood management—from identifying areas at risk for flooding to responding to flood events as they occur.
The Flood Pilot has three main objectives:
- Create a Global Flood Dashboard to serve as a “one-stop shop” for information from a number of existing systems for monitoring and predicting floods in real-time. This Dashboard uses relatively coarse-resolution data for the entire globe to enable disaster managers and other users (especially those with multi-national responsibilities) to quickly identify “hot spots” where they need to focus their attention.
- Create three regional Flood Pilots that are focused on delivering satellite products with a greater amount of spatial detail for smaller areas. When a flood occurs in one of these regional Pilot regions, users of the data will be able to transition from the big-picture focus of the Global Dashboard to much more detailed information for the area of interest. The three regions are:
- The Caribbean, with a particular focus on Haiti;
- Southern Africa, including Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi;
- Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on the lower Mekong River Basin and West Java, Indonesia.
- Encourage each participating country to develop at least a basic capacity to access these data, understand them, and make them a part of their decision-making process. The Flood Pilot is leveraging a number of ongoing projects to accomplish this.
In the broader context of CEOS, the Flood Pilot aims to improve the coordination of when and where satellite data are acquired by the satellite operators with the needs of users on the ground. The Flood Pilot also hopes to demonstrate how satellite data can provide valuable information for making decisions about floods, especially in areas where other sources of information are difficult to obtain.
WGDisasters Flood Pilot work from May – June, 2015 in Texas.