Planet for Disaster & Emergency Management

Published on 07 Aug 2023

disaster management

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and other destructive weather events, have been a part of Earth's history. However, recent trends indicate a significant increase in these disasters' frequency, intensity, and unpredictability. 

The rise in global temperatures is a key driver behind these changes, making disaster management more challenging than ever before. This whitepaper explores the role of satellite data, particularly from Planet and New Light Technologies (NLT), in enhancing emergency and disaster management efforts.

The Changing Landscape of Natural Disasters

The past decade has witnessed a surge in natural disasters, including unprecedented heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, and floods. These events are closely linked to rising global temperatures and changing climate patterns. The impact of these disasters on communities and infrastructure necessitates a comprehensive approach to disaster management.

Satellite Data for Disaster Management

Satellite imagery plays a crucial role in all phases of disaster management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Planet's high-cadence and high-resolution satellite monitoring and NLT's expertise in satellite-derived analytics provide valuable insights to support disaster management efforts.

Mitigation and Preparedness

Satellite data aids in understanding and mitigating disaster risks before they occur. By analyzing historical and real-time satellite data, agencies can create accurate risk assessments, develop disaster response scenarios, and plan for climate resilience and adaptation. This proactive approach helps in reducing the impact and consequences of disasters and forges an effective disaster emergency plan.

Rapid Response

During the critical response phase, rapid situational awareness is essential. Satellite data facilitates real-time disaster imagery, helping to analyze damage, map spread, and identify road blockages. The integration of Planet's SkySat imagery with FEMA's response program enhances coordination and supports the effective deployment of resources.

Recovery Efforts

After the disaster, recovery efforts begin, and satellite imagery continues to play a vital role in the disaster emergency plan. Daily global imagery assists in planning and tracking recovery operations, monitoring construction and repair activities, and enhancing overall preparedness for future events.

Satellite Data in Action: Wildfires

Planet's satellite data, in collaboration with AI-powered systems like Overstory, aids in vegetation management, fuel load assessment, disease monitoring, and more. The integration of satellite and drone data enhances mapping efficiency and coordination, as demonstrated during the disaster emergency plan of the Dixie Fire in California.

Satellite Data in Action: Drought

Satellite imagery helps quantify drought conditions and track changes in water reservoirs, such as the Colorado River Basin. The data enables governments and organizations to make informed decisions about water resource management and develop strategies to address water scarcity challenges.

Satellite Data in Action: Tornadoes

Tornadoes pose unique challenges due to their rapid and destructive nature. In the aftermath of an EF 3 tornado that hit Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2020, recovery efforts faced significant obstacles, including the loss of road signs and structures. Satellite-derived change detection analysis proved invaluable in mapping the extent of damage and aiding recovery efforts. This technology enabled accurate assessment and location tracking, ensuring efficient allocation of resources and prioritized search and rescue operations and disaster management.

Satellite Data in Action: Flooding

Frequent and severe flooding events are a consequence of climate-related factors such as rising sea levels, heavier precipitation, and increased storm intensity. Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management turned to Planet's high-frequency satellite imagery to respond effectively to record floods in the region. The real-time assessment of damages facilitated by satellite imagery allowed for coordinated responses and optimized resource allocation across the state.


Download Planet's whitepaper to learn more about Planet’s emergency and disaster management.


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