27 January 2005
Atlas of Tsunami Region Shows Damage
U.N. organization compiles data
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has compiled satellite images of the battered Indonesian and Sri Lankan coastal areas stricken by the Indian Ocean tsunami, creating a package of information helpful to those working toward recovery in the devastated zones.
This newly compiled atlas depicts damaged areas both before and after they suffered the double blow of earthquake and tsunami. According to the FAO’s Dominique Lantiere, a remote-sensing expert, the atlas will help experts in evaluating the damage and estimating reconstruction and rehabilitation needs especially in agricultural lands, mangroves areas, as well as in the coastal infrastructure that is used by farmers and fishermen.
FAO experts are working to compile similar reference materials for all damaged areas with the expectation that the atlas will become a key reference document during rehabilitation.
The text of the FAO press release follows:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Satellite images, maps assisting in responding to disaster
Atlas on tsunami damaged areas in Asia
24 January 2005 - An FAO-produced Atlas on areas affected by the 26 December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia has proven to be very useful to FAO teams and to Italian and other European officials and non-governmental organizations working in the devastated zones. 24 January 2005, Rome - An FAO-produced Atlas on areas affected by the 26 December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia has proven to be very useful to FAO teams and to Italian and other European officials and non-governmental organizations working in the devastated zones.
FAO has prepared the Tsunami Atlas using images collected from FAO data bases and completed by major spatial data sources on the web. "These include raw satellite images, interpreted satellite images, topographic maps, thematic maps and geo-statistics," explained FAO remote sensing expert Dominique Lantieri.
Before and after
"The Atlas shows the tsunami affected areas before and after the disaster, thus helping experts in evaluating the damage and estimating reconstruction and rehabilitation needs especially in the agricultural lands, the mangroves areas, as well in the coastal infrastructure that is used by farmers and fishermen," Mr. Lantieri added.
The FAO Tsunami Atlas is well advanced for Indonesia and Sri Lanka which were hit hard by the waves. FAO is also working intensively regarding the other affected countries.
Some of the satellite images showing areas affected by the tsunami have been interpreted by experts with the help of Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis. They show land features and details up to one meter of resolution in some cases.
Topographic maps which provide information on terrain, roads, villages have also been made available at 1:250000 scale, and a 1:50000 scale.
In addition, the Atlas displays maps and statistics providing information on the local climate, the cropping calendars, levels of malnutrition, as well as the latest figures provided by aid workers on human losses and material damage, Mr. Lantieri said.
The maps and images can be also used to incorporate field information collected by relief organisations, thanks to the GPS technology.
So far, FAO has prepared and distributed a paper Atlas and a cd-rom version containing hundreds of tsunami related images and maps for Indonesia and Sri Lanka. The data is also available through Internet.
The Atlas will soon be distributed widely in hard copy throughout the tsunami affected countries, including national ministries, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations.
Many of the images can be viewed and understood by non-cartographic experts, and are made available in most common image computer format.
An effort is underway to extend the Atlas to the other affected countries and to regularly update the maps and satellite images. It is expected that the Atlas will become a key reference cartographic document for operators working at the planning and field levels in the Tsunami affected areas.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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