May 07, 2008

Nargis cyclone

First maps delivered in near-real time for relief actors

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On May, 5th ITHACA has produced the first digital map on affected areas hit by the Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. The 1:1400000 scale map uses NASA satellite data in the visible and infrared spectral bands to gauge flooded areas.

Information Technology for Humanitarian Assistance, Cooperation and Action (ITHACA) – is a center of applied research and distribution of products and services related to information technology in support of humanitarian activities.

On 30 April, 2008 ITHACA predicted that severe cyclonic storm Nargis was forecast to strike Myanmar at about 18:00 GMT on 2 May. The storm made landfall on 2 May and more than 22 000 people lost their lives. This would make Nargis the world’s deadliest storm since 1991.

This maps show the estimated affected areas derived by Modis satellite imagery change detection. Modis is an instrument which observes the entire Earth’s surface every 1 to 2 days, acquiring data in 36 spectral bands, or groups of wavelengths. These data are used for understanding of global dynamics and processes occurring on the land, in the oceans, and in the lower atmosphere.

These maps are essential tools for all actors intervening in case of disasters such as Nargis.

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