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December 20th, 2012
RADARSAT-2 Images Support Disaster Relief Efforts of Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines

MDA provided imagery acquired by the RADARSAT-2 satellite over the southern Philippines to support disaster relief efforts. The first imagery covering the Mindanao region was acquired on December 4 and 5, 2012 and was provided to the University of the Philippines, hours after the storm struck land. The imagery of the of the Cagayan de Oro and Iligan River Basins in Mindanao allowed the University to complete an initial assessment of the extent of flooding conditions. Secondary, focused image collection was taken on December 7 and 9, 2012, in support of the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters.”

When a natural disaster of the magnitude experienced in the Philippines occurs, there is an urgent need to identify major changes that have an impact on the people and infrastructure on the ground. Satellite imagery acquired immediately after the event provides updated views of how the landscape has changed and the extent of damage to critical infrastructure such as buildings, roads, and airports. These images can be compared with satellite imagery taken before the event to help identify areas that have been hit hardest by the disaster, determine passable routes for aid workers, as well as safe areas suitable for establishing aid camps to provide medical support and shelter.

Launched in 2007, RADARSAT-2 is the world’s most advanced commercial C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite. RADARSAT-2 offers new imaging capabilities and a faster turn-around schedule for data acquisition and product delivery. It provides enhanced information for applications such as environmental monitoring, ice mapping, resource mapping, disaster management, and marine surveillance. RADARSAT-2’s ability to collect imagery independent of darkness or inclement atmospheric conditions is a valuable support during times of emergency to supplement airborne and ground resources for local and regional damage assessment.