Satellite boosts risk monitoring

By Yuki Matsuoka

KAGOSHIMA, 26 May 2014 – The launch of a new satellite to conduct ‘health checks’ on some of the earth’s most vulnerable and exposed regions marks a new era of disaster risk monitoring.

Japan’s DAICHI-2 will monitor disaster risks as well as the impact of disasters such as floods and landslides for disaster management activities. The satellite will also collect data related to deformation of the Earth's crust, tropical rain forests and snow and ice conditions in polar areas.

The launch of the satellite, the name of which means ‘The Earth’ or ‘The Vast Land’ in Japanese, comes as the role of space technology in the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is gaining more focus.

The President of The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Mr. Naoki Okumura, said that satellite technology is an increasingly important part of international cooperation in disaster risk reduction.

“JAXA and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a partnership agreement with the objective to promote collaboration to contribute to solving various development challenges, including disasters, for developing countries,” Mr Okumura said.

JAXA, along the Asian Disaster Reduction Centre (ADRC), is planning a side event at the Regional Platform in Asia 6th Asia Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Thailand in 23-27 June, under the theme of “Challenges and expectations of utilization of space technology for DRR in Asia and the Pacific”.

DAICHI-2, which was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center, in Kagoshima Prefecture, can provide higher spatial resolution observation data (3 meters) and can observe up to 2,320km of the earth’s surface at any one time through night and day and in all weather conditions.

The previous DAICHI satellite, which had lower resolution (10 meters) and only one-third of the range at 870km, helped map damage after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 however there were limits on its ability to provide some information that was requested.