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e-geos: Sentinel-1A satellite aids flood relief in the Balkans

For the first time Sentinel-1A satellite was operationally used to support emergency management operations in the Balkans, where prolonged heavy rainfalls and widespread flooding since the 15th of May 2014 triggered the declaration of the State of Emergency.

In order to provide fast and complete map product delivery it is crucial to take into account and use all available sensors.

Although the radar sensor carried by Sentinel-1A is still in commissioning stage, its data was integrated into the Copernicus EMS flood maps of the Sava river in the Balatun area in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Although the processing chain in use have not yet been tuned to process Sentinel-1A data, and despite the tight timelines for map production, new procedures have been put in place to exploit Sentinel data and to combine them with the pre-event analysis achieved from Spot 6.

Sentinel-1A was launched on April 3rd from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, and it is the first in a fleet of Sentinel satellites developed for European Copernicus programme.

e-GEOS Space Centre in Matera supported the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) of the Sentinel-1A satellite and verified that the operation ensured the sound functioning of the platform and the radar platform and instrument on board the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth observation satellite Sentinel-1A. In the early hours of the morning of Sunday April 6 (05:53 CET), the first on-board telemetry and navigation data in band-X was received.

The Matera Space Centre is one of the Core Ground Segment’s three ground stations built under the leadership of the ESA for European environmental monitoring program Copernicus. Matera was chosen as the first station to be involved in the delicate LEOP phase and commissioning of the mission, which began immediately after the launch of Sentinel-1A.

Sentinel-1A satellite aids flood relief in the Balkans
Title: Flood map
Released: 28/05/2014 10:17 am
Copyright: ESA/European Commission, produced by the Copernicus Emergency Management Service
Flood delineation map over the village of Balatun in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina based on Sentinel-1A data. Serbia lies to the north of the Sava river

Within the Balkan floods in the end of May Civil Protection authorities involved in in-field operations brought aid using disaster maps issued by the European Commission’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service soon after the first floods.

e-GEOS is the Service Provider of the Emergency Management Service leading an international team that includes GAF (Germany), ITHACA (Italy) and SIRS (France).

The Copernicus Emergency Management Service is funded and coordinated by European Commision. Since the 16th of May the production teams worked day and night to perform geospatial analysis of the newly acquired satellite data over Balkan areas.

The most affected areas of Doboj, Zenica, Vlasenica in Bosnia, Ljubovija, Lazarevac, Paracin in Serbia, and Zupanija in Croatia have been closely monitored by the Emergency Management Service. About 60 delineation flood maps (and about 40 reference maps) have been produced thanks to the combined efforts of a pool of more than 25 people.

All maps are available on the GIO (GMES Initial Operations) Emergency Rush Portal managed by the JRC.