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Emergency Response in China benefits from TerraSAR-X and Spot 5

  • German TerraSAR-X and French SPOT 5 satellites acquire high-quality imagery of areas affected by earthquake in China
  • Rapid mapping and evaluation services by EADS Astrium subsidiary Infoterra and Beijing Spot Image
  • Emergency response teams receive data rapidly and free of charge

Friedrichshafen / Beijing, 19 May 2008

Emergency response operations following the recent earthquake in the province of Sichuan, China, are now being supported through the rapid provision of high-quality radar and optical satellite imagery as well as detailed evaluations of this data by Infoterra GmbH and Spot Image SA. In a joint effort, the two companies have provided Chinese government agencies and rescue organizations with satellite imagery, interpretation support, maps, and rapid evaluations depicting the conditions of urban areas, infrastructure, and landscapes. Infoterra and Spot Image had tasked their respective satellites, the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X and the French optical satellite SPOT 5, to acquire data of the affected areas.

Within seven hours after reception at the ground station, the first processed TerraSAR-X imagery was delivered to the users. At the same time, Infoterra and Spot Image experts in Europe and Beijing began evaluating and interpreting the data sets – enabling a delivery of detailed maps the following day.

Chinese government agencies and rescue organizations such as State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (CASM), the Ministry of Land and Resource, the State Earthquake Administration and the State Council of China received the information instantaneously, and are now applying it in their emergency response operations. All results have immediately been made available online, ensuring accessibility for national and international, governmental and non-governmental organizations worldwide.

Imagery and maps are used for the recognition and assessment of damages, identification of focus areas, resource scheduling and route planning, or an efficient setup of coordination centers and camps.

Further TerraSAR-X and SPOT 5 acquisitions have been scheduled for the next days and weeks. This will enable detailed monitoring of progress, changes, and possible further effects of the catastrophe, offering continuous support of the medium-term emergency response activities. All of Infoterra's and Beijing Spot Image's activities and efforts are part of the EADS Group's contributions to emergency relief in China: The data and evaluations could thus be made available free of charge.

About Infoterra
Infoterra holds the exclusive commercial exploitation rights for the new German radar satellite TerraSAR-X, launched on June 15th, 2007 – enabling the company to provide weather-independent, high-resolution, new-quality radar data as well as reliable data access services.

A variety of geo-information products and services, based on both radar data and remote sensing data acquired by other spaceborne sensors, complete the portfolio: Infoterra provides reliable and timely knowledge to customers in versatile fields of application around the globe.

Infoterra is part of EADS Astrium, Europe’s leading space systems and services specialist, and comprises established entities in France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, and the United Kingdom, with more than 350 employees and a turnover of over 60 Mio Euro in 2007.

About Spot Image
Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Spot Image has established subsidiaries in the USA, China, Singapore, Japan and Australia, with a sixth planned for summer 2008 in Brazil. As the commercial operator of the SPOT satellites and provider of imagery from other optical and radar satellites, Spot Image is a world leader in the provision of satellite imagery and geo-information value added services. For over two decades, Spot Image has successfully harnessed a range of space- and ground-based systems to meet customers' needs. The Spot Image group leverages a global network of ground receiving stations, partners and distributors to bring geographic information, products and services to public- and private- sector decision makers worldwide.

Mareike Döpke
Tel.: +49 7545 8 3924

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