CEOS Development Environment

Geohazard Supersites

The Geohazard Supersites and Natural Laboratories initiative – GSNL

The GSNL initiative is a voluntary international partnership aiming to improve, through an Open Science approach, geophysical scientific research and geohazard assessment, promoting rapid and effective uptake of the new scientific results for enhanced societal benefits in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

The GSNL goal is pursued promoting broad international scientific collaboration and open access to a variety of space- and ground-based data, focusing on areas with important scientific problems and high risk levels: the Supersites and the Natural Laboratories. For these areas a joint effort is carried out: the CEOS1 space agencies provide satellite imagery at no cost for scientific use, the monitoring agencies2 provide access to ground-based data, the global scientific community exploits these data to generate state of the art scientific results.

The coordination of each Supersite is normally assumed by one or more local geohazard scientific institutions which are part of a national, authoritative framework able to provide information for science-based decision making in DRR (either for Prevention or Emergency response). GSNL supports a leading role by the local scientific community to stimulate a coordinated international collaboration, focusing on the aspects which have the highest potential to benefit DRR actions.

GSNL works as a network, and aims to connect the Supersites and Natural Laboratories promoting transfer of knowledge, data, personnel, tools, as well as best practices for optimal uptake of scientific results.


GSNL objectives

  • to enable the global scientific community with open, full and easy access to a variety of space- and ground-based data over the Supersites and the Natural Laboratories;
  • to promote advancements in geohazard science over the selected sites;
  • to promote rapid uptake of scientific results by DRR stakeholders and decision makers;
  • to innovate technologies, processes, and communication models, enhancing data sharing, global scientific collaboration, and capacity building in geohazard science.


Stakeholders and their interests

There are three main types of stakeholders involved in each Supersite or Natural Laboratory:

  • The data providers (for in situ and EO data). They support the initiative to promote their activities, demonstrating the societal benefits of the data they produce. They commit specific in kind resources, and then periodically review the accomplishments through their role in the GSNL organization. The CEOS1 space agencies and the national monitoring agencies2 are the most important data providers.
  • The global geohazard scientific community. Within a Supersite community, scientists can access thousands of satellite images and important in situ datasets (seismic, geodetic, geologic, geochemical, etc.), which they can exploit in the collaborative framework to improve their knowledge and contribute results of direct societal benefit in DRR. Furthermore, thanks to the increased visibility and DRR focus, Supersite scientific research may benefit from specific funding lines at national or international level.
  • The final users of the geohazard scientific information. This category includes public risk reduction agencies, policy makers at various scales, and in general all subjects who can benefit from science-based decision making in DRR. They are involved by the local scientific community (Supersite coordinator), provide recommendations for priority research topics, and obtain information useful for risk management.

The GSNL network

In November 2018 the GSNL network is composed of ten Permanent Supersites and one Natural Laboratory:

Coordinator Coordinator

M. Poland USGS, USA October 2012 Hawai’I County Civil Defense,
Hawai’I Volcanoes National Park

F. Sigmundsson, K. Vogfjord University of Iceland and IMO, Iceland November 2013 Icelandic Police –
Dep.t of Civil Protection and
Emergency Management,
Environmental Agency of Iceland,
Directorate of Health

G. Puglisi INGV, Italy April 2014 National Department of
Civil Protection,
Regional Civil Defense
Campi Flegrei
& Vesuvius

S. Borgstrom INGV, Italy April 2014 National Department of
Civil Protection,
Regional Civil Defense
Marmara Fault
S. Ergintav KOERI, Turkey April 2014 Istanbul municipality

P. Mothes IGEPN, Ecuador October 2014 Secretariat for Risk
Management, Regional governments,
Taupo volcanic
zone, NZ

N. Fournier,
I. Hamling
GNS Science, New Zealand October 2014 Ministry of Civil Defence and
Emergency Management,
Department of Conservation,
Regional councils, MetService
Gulf of Corinth-
Ionian Islands

A. Savvaidis ITSAK, Greece November 2016 EPPO, Greek Civil Defense
San Andreas
Fault Natural

C. Wicks USGS, USA April 2017 California Office of
Emergency Services,
Federal Emergency Management Agency,
plus many other local stakeholders
Southern Andes

L. Lara SERNAGEOMIN, Chile October 2017 ONEMI (Oficina Nacional de Emergencias),
under the Ministry of Interior and
Public Safety

C. Balagizi Goma Volcano Observatory, D.R. of Congo October 2017 DRC Civil Protection, NGOs for
Emergency and
Disaster Management,
also in Rwanda,
Virunga National Park offices

In addition, Event Supersites are established following strong magnitude earthquakes or eruptions (e.g. the Tohoku or Gorkha earthquakes); for them the data provision is guaranteed only for about one year after the event.


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