On August 24th the German Minister of Justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, visited the German Aerospace Center DLR at Oberpfaffenhofen. On a tour of the service lab of the Earth Observation Center EOC she was welcomed by the director of DFD, Prof. Stefan Dech, who illustrated the potential of satellite based remote sensing with practical examples.
The minister was particularly interested in the components and functioning of the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System GITEWS. Asking about how it differed from the U.S. and Japanese early warning systems in the Pacific Ocean, she was informed that GITEWS combines actual measurements with existing model-based tsunami scenarios, which makes it possible to produce in a matter of minutes a realistic assessment of conditions so that warnings and evacuation can be promptly initiated.
This topic was followed up at the Center for Satellite-based Crisis Information ZKI with a demonstration of the emergency mapping undertaken in March 2011 for use by local emergency response units during the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster. Using the example of mapping for a fire in Chile in January 2012, the typical sequence of response activities was illustrated, from initial request to role assignments to the supplying of relevant data and information. The minister was impressed both by the skillful adaptation of research results for real applications and by the prompt provision of operational support to local rescue teams.
ZKI is a service of DLR’s German Remote Sensing Data Center DFD. It is responsible for providing a 24/7 service for the rapid procurement, processing and analysis of satellite data in cases of natural and environmental disasters, for humanitarian aid activities, and for purposes of civil security worldwide. Its information products are tailored to the specific requirements of national and international political decision makers, situation centers and aid organizations, and are also made available to the general public.