The Use of EO data in Emergency Mapping in Rush Mode: Experience from the First Year of GIO EMS RUSH Operations
Di Federico, Annalaura; Grandoni, Domenico

Each year Europe and the rest of the world are struck by natural hazards or man-made disasters such as floods, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis or industrial accidents, affecting the lives of many people, destroying public and private property and damaging the environment. The efficient management of the consequences of disasters is crucial to ensure that human losses and general damage are avoided or, at least, minimized. To this end, geo-spatial information provides significant support in the preparedness, response and recovery phases of disaster management. The European Commission (EC) has therefore put in place a dedicated service to support disaster management, through the GMES Initial Operations (GIO) program: the GMES Emergency Management Service (EMS). It is a reliable, functional, free-of-charge 24/7 service, providing rapid on demand cartographic products to a wide range of users, in particular Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid users. The EMS-Mapping has been fully operational since April 1st 2012, providing all actors involved in the management of emergency situations and humanitarian crises with timely and accurate geo-spatial information derived from satellite remote sensing and complemented by available in situ or open data sources. The EMS Mapping in Rush mode operations are executed under contract by an international Consortium led by e-GEOS. EC staff at DG ECHO/MIC are responsible for activation authorization, and the DG JRC for technical and contractual management. ESA provides the satellite imagery through the Data Access Program At the time of this abstract preparation, 27 activations were handled and related maps were produced between April 2012 when GIO EMS RUSH operations were officially announced - and February 2013. 56% of the disaster sites were located in Europe and 44% outside Europe (total 11, 7 activations dealing with Humanitarian Crises in Myanmar and Syria/Jordan, 4 activations dealing with flood in Philippines, Niger and Cameroon). In terms of disaster type 8% of the activation were triggered for Earthquakes, 28% Fires, 28% Floods, 4% Industrial Accidents and 32% were related to other types of disaster, mainly with Humanitarian Crises. The activating authorities were belonging to the MS Civil Protection and the DG-ECHO acting as focal point for the UN Agencies (OCHA, WFP) and the EC Services. Such figures provide an idea of the interaction occurred between the GIO EMS Service Provider On Duty Staff and the GEST operators at the GSC-DA, to efficiently procure the EO resources needed for the timely provision of the requested geo-spatial information. The access to the EO data through the GSC-DA mechanism indeed is a key element in matching the expectations of the Users in terms of timeliness for service provision. On one side the operational experience proved that still the satellite tasking and EO data acquisition phase represent a relevant percentage in the emergency service provision lifecycle often severely affecting the overall timeliness. This is mostly due to the limitation in the acquisition opportunities especially for those types of disaster where optical VHR data are mandatory. On the other hand improvements might be reached by adapting the current procedures in order to maximize the chance to get the very next satellite passage over the observed Area of Interest. At the conference we intend to present updated figures and details about the operational context where GSC-DA data are used, including statistics related to the service performances and lessons learnt under the Service Provider perspective. Specific case studies showing the actual information flow between the On Duty Operators at Service Provider site and the GEST team will eventually be used to support the understanding of strengthens and weakness all along the overall service delivery chain.