India offers free access to sat data on natural disasters | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 24, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 24, 2008

India offers free access to sat data on natural disasters

India has offered free access to remote sensing data, collected by satellites of Indian Space Research Organisation, to other Saarc countries during major natural disasters in the region.
A meeting of experts from Saarc countries, held in New Delhi Monday, was told that the modalities for allowing access to satellite data would depend on what exactly each member country opens up and shares, official sources here said.
The experts agreed that sharing such data would not only help assess the actual damage caused by natural disasters but also improve transparency in relief and rehabilitation in South Asia.
Inaugurating the meeting, Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil called on the Saarc countries to use their strength in science and technology to build a sound system of prevention, mitigation and preparedness to cut the risks of natural and man-made disasters.
Indian experts at the meeting pointed out how remote sensing images taken even by commercial satellites clearly captured the effects of cyclone Sidr which flattened the southern region of Bangladesh last year, the tsunami along India's eastern coast in 2004 and the earthquake in Kashmir in 2005.
India has over half a dozen remote-sensing satellites in orbit, covering the entire Saarc region.
The aim of the meeting was to deliberate on the use of geoinformatics in risk mapping, risk assessment and risk monitoring under diverse geographical, socio-economic and cultural settings.
Since satellite-imaging of the Saarc region has security implications for member countries, it would be discussed with each member country, the sources said.
Pointing out that South Asia is prone to earthquakes, Shivraj Patil emphasised the need for sustained scientific research on quakes, particularly in the Himalayan region, in order to locate precisely the fault zones and the return of temblors.

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