Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

UK takes the helm of international Charter

by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) May 12, 2011
The UK has assumed leadership of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters. The Charter is an agreement that coordinates space agencies worldwide in gathering vital satellite images of disaster-stricken regions - providing the images to civil protection authorities to inform their response efforts and save lives.

As Chair of the Charter, the UK Space Agency will take responsibility for implementing strategy and policy, and has committed to finding ways of widening national access to the Charter's services.

Speaking ahead of his keynote address at the Charter Board Meeting in London, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said:

"The Charter is a great example of the enormous benefits space can bring to our everyday lives. It provides invaluable and immediate satellite images during times of crisis, from tracking extreme weather to dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes and tsunamis, as we saw very recently in Japan.

"During the UK's chairmanship we're keen to build on the Charter's success and open up international access to the world's satellite resources. This means the Charter will play an even bigger role in helping countries respond effectively to emergencies, and ultimately help save lives."

Since it was set up in 1999, the Charter has helped in more than 300 disasters for more than 100 countries. So far this year, the Charter has been activated for the flooding in Australia, Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia and most recently in central Midwest America, as well as hurricane Yasi and earthquakes in Pakistan, New Zealand and Japan.

Membership of the Charter is open to all space agencies able to contribute satellite images. Uniquely, the UK is a member on a public-private basis that makes optimal use of the available government and commercial expertise.

The UK Space Agency holds a seat on the Charter's Board, providing direction and examining ways to improve Charter performance in future. DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) operates the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), a currently five-strong commercial satellite constellation made available as part of the Charter satellite fleet, and implements the day-to-day Charter process as a member of the Charter's Executive Secretariat.

Dr Alice Bunn, Assistant Director of Earth Observation for the UK Space Agency and the new Chair of the Charter, said:

"As one of the funding members of this crucial collaboration, the UK Space Agency is looking forward to leading the Charter over the next six months. Charter satellites have provided satellite data for most major disasters over the last ten years, including Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, the floods in Pakistan and the earthquake in Haiti.

"The Charter is an impressive demonstration of space agencies around the world working together to provide a humanitarian response to disasters, providing data quickly and free of charge."

David Hodgson, DMCii's member of the Charter's Executive Secretariat, said:

"The Charter is still being run in much the same way as when it began in 2000 with three members. Now, with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) joining last year, membership is up to 14. The practical implications of this increase need addressing to keep the Charter operating in the same efficient and streamlined manner."

The Charter has been activated over UK territory a total of five times to date: twice during the 2007 floods, once during the Lyme Bay oil spill that same year and twice during volcanic eruptions on the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat in 2003 and 2008 respectively.

A simulated UK Charter activation also took place in March during Exercise Watermark, a national flood response exercise involving 10,000 participants, with the Environment Agency and Welsh Assembly receiving archived images from the 2007 floods. The Charter's Authorised User in the UK is the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, part of the UK Cabinet Office assigned to civil protection duties.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
International Charter on Space and Major Disasters
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Tiltable head improves ability of robots to navigate disaster debris
Atlanta GA (SPX) May 11, 2011
Search and rescue missions have followed each of the devastating earthquakes that hit Haiti, New Zealand and Japan during the past 18 months. Machines able to navigate through complex dirt and rubble environments could have helped rescuers after these natural disasters, but building such machines is challenging. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently built a robot that ... read more

UK takes the helm of international Charter

Japan SOS mayor vows to save town near nuclear plant

Tornado damage raises building questions

More than 40 injured in China bank blast

Mayflower Test Satellite Proves Successful During Recent SpaceX Mission

Google notebooks challenge Microsoft

Broadband Lidar Instrument Successfully Tested on NASA's DC-8

Lessening the Dangers of Radiation

Darfur forum to seek $1.4 billion in water aid: UN

Israel exploiting Jordan Valley: rights group

Iran expert alarmed by 'critical' Caspian Sea pollution

Egyptian PM in Ethiopia for Nile talks

States set rules on exploiting Arctic wealth

Canada PM's Arctic stand 'frosty rhetoric'

Antarctic icebergs help the ocean take up carbon dioxide

Change is the order of the day in the Arctic

Drought tolerance in crops: Shutting down the plant's growth inhibition under mild stress

India's top court imposes ban on 'toxic' pesticide

New Strategy Aims to Reduce Agricultural Ammonia

'Liquid smoke' from rice shows potential health benefits

Spanish seismologist had predicted a quake "shortly"

Spain mourns quake victims

US storms have no bearing on hurricane season

Mississippi Delta braces for historic flooding

Outside View: Kenya mobile banking network

Burkina Faso ruling party says opposition aiming for coup

Chinese army gives rocket launchers, weapons to Sierra Leone

Disaster-hit Japan will not cut aid to Africa: spokesman

Ancient rock carvings found in Sudan

Indian brides told to put down their mobile phones

Super-healing researcher follows intuition

No nuts for 'Nutcracker Man'

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement