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UN Uses Satellite Images For Development Work

By | July 9, 2003

      United Nations-led development efforts in some of the poorest and most remote parts of the globe are being guided by images from satellites provided by the European Space Agency. The ESA-backed UNOSAT consortium is providing an average of five new satellite-derived maps or data products to UN agencies and non-governmental organizations every week.

      The Nicaraguan highland municipality of Matagalpa is just one site among many where UNOSAT-supplied geographical information system (GIS) tools are being used in development projects. Here the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is using satellite-derived relief data that identifies areas most at risk of landslides to plan safe urban expansion. And by using GIS tools to combine a satellite image of newly built-up areas with local data on the limits of the local water supply, zones most at risk of disease are highlighted for attention.

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