CEOS Development Environment

CEOS Supporting Hurricane Matthew Recovery in Southwest Haiti – The 1st Recovery Observatory Triggered


In October 2016, the three departments of Grand’Anse, Sud, and Nippes were devastated by Hurricane Matthew, destroying houses, devastating crops and mangroves, and leaving populations without food (and in many cases without shelter). Haiti’s celebrated Parc Makaya was also in Matthew’s path, and some 50% of its forested cover was severely affected. In some sectors, it’s estimated that recovery may take up to a decade.

In December, 2016, CEOS triggered its “Recovery Observatory” for the first time, an innovative concept developed by the CEOS Working Group on Disasters (WGDisasters), under the leadership of the French Space Agency (CNES), the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction (GFDRR)/World Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 

The aim of the Recovery Observatory is to:

  • Demonstrate, in a high-profile context, the value of using satellite Earth Observations to support recovery from a major disaster:
    • Near-term (e.g. support to Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, PDNA, process)
    • Long-term (e.g. major recovery planning and monitoring, estimated to be from one to three years)
  • Work with the recovery community to define a sustainable vision for the increased use of satellite Earth observations in support of recovery
  • Establish institutional relationships between CEOS satellite data providers and stakeholders from the international recovery community
  • Foster innovation around high-technology applications to support recovery


A first mission to Haiti in January, 2017, established a strong partnership with three national champions determined to bring satellite community resources together to support recovery and reconstruction in the affected area: the Centre National d’Information Geo-Spatial (CNIGS), the Comité Interministériel d’Aménagement du Territoire (CIAT), and the Observatoire National de l’Environnement et de la Vulnérabilité (ONEV). Working closely together, with the support of the Haitian Planning Ministry, the team quickly developed a clear statement of requirements for information products supporting key reconstruction areas as a means of responding to the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment prepared by the Haitian Government. These key areas of activity are: land cover, forest change and environmental impact, agriculture, watershed changes, and terrain displacement.

Together with the Haitian champion organizations, the World Bank, and UNDP, the French Space Agency (CNES), Italian Space Agency (ASI), and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have agreed to sit on the Recovery Observatory Steering Committee. Many CEOS Agencies have already agreed to provide data or services to the Observatory, including ASI (and its partner, the International Centre on Environmental Monitoring, CIMA, Foundation), CNES, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the European Space Agency (ESA), the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

If you are interested in joining this effort either as an end user or as a generator of information products, please contact:

CNIGS Director General Boby Piard

CNES WG Disasters Member Helene de Boissezon