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Satellites and space technology applications for disaster risk management

July 2017

Since April 2015, ADB has been implementing TA-8884-REG: Applying Space-Based Technology and Information and Communication Technology to Strengthen Disaster Resilience.


The TA is being implemented with a $2 million support from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR), and aims to establish a more information-based Disaster Risk Management system through the application of space-based technologies and information and communication technology.  


The TA has recently developed a combination of web and mobile based tools aimed to help communities and city governments in responding better to perceived risks from natural disasters. Government, community officials and local volunteers in Armenia, Bangladesh, Fiji, and the Philippines will be trained to use new state-of-the-art space-based technology and other high tech tools for disaster planning.


In Fiji, an island state in the Pacific that is prone to typhoons, storm surges, and tsunamis, mobile phone units were purchased under the TA and were issued to volunteer mappers for the field validation. Successful field validations were done at the Namotomoto, Nawaka and Saunaka Villages, center of Nadi town, and the Denarau island. About 500 buildings were mapped using the mobile phones to identify which structures are at most risk to natural disasters.


Among the lessons learned from the recent activities in Fiji are: collecting information using mobile applications is easy to understand for community people adept at using smart phones; use of mobile devices for communities raises their awareness of hazards at hand; and use of mobile applications for mapping vulnerable communities can reach areas that are not usually covered by open source platforms like Google Maps. 


An overview of the web and mobile based tools developed under the TA are illustrated in the infographics below.

Fig 1.0 Web based tool

Fig 2.0 Mobile based tool

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