Roundtable Explores Remote Sensing for Disaster Relief


  • Randy Showstack


Against a backdrop of recent natural disasters—including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake—an 8 July roundtable at the U.S. National Academies explored ways to improve the use of remote sensing data before, during, and after disasters.

At the “From Reality 2010 to Vision 2020” roundtable in Washington, D.C., speakers from U.S. federal government agencies and the private sector generally agreed that there would likely be continued improvements in remote sensing instrumentation, including reduced size and weight and the capability for more rapid dissemination of remote sensing data. However, they also stressed the need for closer collaboration among agencies and settling political and turf battles, overcoming security and other restrictions such as with sharing high- resolution data, and responding better to user needs.