EO to improve risk management of landslides and floods in Alpine regions

Under the 6th Framework Programme for Research (FP6) activity
?´Global Monitoring for Environment and Security?? (GMES), the Commission
will provide ?Ñ1.1m support for a new research project, called ?¨ASSIST?Æ,
on improving risk warning and risk management of landslides,
avalanches, debris flows and floods in Alpine regions. The results of
this project can easily be extended to other mountainous areas. Under
GMES, the Commission is currently funding 14 projects. ASSIST is the
latest and fifteenth project.
Commission Vice-President G¬?nter Verheugen
stated: ?¨With the closure of the latest call for proposals for space
research projects, the Commission has taken an important step in
fostering dialogue between stakeholders from both the provider and the
user side of information in the fields of environment and security.
Whilst making the lives of citizens safer, we are also helping EU
industry to become more competitive through developing a strong and
innovative industrial pole both for information services and
space/terrestrial infrastructure.?Æ
Mountain ranges or chains account for 30%
of EU territory, with some 30 million inhabitants. Areas include the
Alps, Sierra Nevada, the Island of Crete, the Pyrenees, the Apennines,
the Sierra de Estrela, the Massif Central, the upper Tatra and the
Carpathians. Mountain areas represent over 50% of the territory in
Italy, Spain, Greece, Austria, Switzerland and Portugal. The goal of
ASSIST is to implement pre-operational services and establish advanced
integrated safety and information services for the Alps.
Several important benefits can be obtained
from an integrated use of satellite based earth observation data,
combining the all-weather capabilities of SAR (synthetic aperture
radar) images with high resolution optical satellite data as a
complement to existing airborne and meteorological data. At a technical
level, the project utilises so-called ?¨Service Nodes?Æ, which are
autonomously operated, such as police, hospitals, air rescue,
fire-fighters, etc. The nodes will be laid out to support a) day-to-day
monitoring and predictions of risk mitigation scenarios and b)
operation during actual crisis situations.
Seven partners from Austria, Germany,
Italy and Switzerland, engaged in different areas of research,
satellite remote sensing, communication technology, and alpine safety
management, are collaborating in the development of a product portfolio
of safety and risk information for direct use in the participating
alpine safety information centres.
GMES is a joint initiative of the
Commission and the European Space Agency aimed at improving
environmental and security-related information to better manage crisis
The call for proposals constitutes a
crucial part of the wider GMES Action Plan which focuses on dialogue
with and among stakeholders (e.g. through the GMES Forum), user
involvement (e.g. GMES Steering Committee), cooperation and partnership
(think tanks and networks, e.g. the European Environment Agency – EEA)
as well as information exchange and information dissemination.
Operational GMES services may be provided by industry on a commercial
basis, a prerequisite to the development of a European industrial pole.
More information at Europa Rapid Press
Author: EARSC

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