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Geodata for Disaster Protection

Essen/Karlsruhe – The cooperation between the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Centre for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) indicates the important role that geodata plays in preventing and tackling natural disasters. The cooperation aims to provide emergency rescue crews with up-to-date satellite-based maps.

“During the recent floods in Germany, the DLR’s Centre for Satellite Based Crisis Information created over 50 satellite-based maps and made them available to the crisis teams, command centres, national aid organisations and helpers on-site. This underlines the importance of remote sensing based information in the management of crisis situations”, says Prof. G√ľnter Strunz, Head of Department at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and a speaker at this year’s INTERGEO conference.

Effective crisis management

Disaster protection is considered one of the most important areas of application for geodata – both nationally and internationally. In the wake of the formidable tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004 and the devastating earthquakes in Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011, it was geodata that supplied satellite data. This data helped the rescue services coordinate their efforts quickly on-site.

When disaster strikes, it is important first and foremost to identify the exact location of the incident and the people affected. Fast access to images of crisis areas enables rapid damage analysis, which is crucial for crisis management teams.

Prevention through simulation

In the long term, however, geodata does more than provide a reliable basis for assessing dangers and risks. It can be used, above all, for analysing, modelling, localising and visualising crisis-relevant circumstances. For flood-affected areas, for example, information on the spread of flooding is of the utmost importance. The data collected by satellite or surveying flights can be used to create three-dimensional digital models for the purpose of simulating floods. The information gained in this way provides the authorities with important reference points in case of crisis.

Meeting point for an innovative sector

“The leading global suppliers of geoinformation services whose technologies play an important role in the prevention and management of disasters are meeting once again at INTERGEO, the world’s leading trade fair for geodesy, geoinformation and land management in Essen,” says Olaf Freier, Managing Director of Hinte GmbH, which stages INTERGEO on behalf of the DVW.

Key participants include, for instance, providers specialising in surveying flights over large areas and suppliers of the requisite technology, e.g. satellites or 3D laser scanners.

INTERGEO conference

The INTERGEO conference in 2013 will welcome distinguished national and international speakers to Essen to address topics such as Open GeoData and energy issues, cloud computing, 3D and new technologies, urban development and property valuation. The conference will, of course, also train the spotlight on the many ways of using geodata for disaster protection and management. “Due to recent events and as an excellent example of how geoinformation can be used in business processes, this topic is sure to attract a great deal of interest at the INTERGEO conference and feature in the presentations of many speakers,” says Hagen Graeff, Chief Representative of DVW gGmbH, which deals with content-related issues for INTERGEO. The German Association of Surveying – German Society for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Land Management (DVW) is the host of INTERGEO.

A further highlight will be the 2nd National INSPIRE Conference, which this year is dedicated to municipal issues as part of the conference.


INTERGEO is the world’s leading trade fair for geodesy, geoinformation and land management. A total of 16,000 visitors from 80 countries came to the latest communication platform to find out about the innovations in the industry from 525 companies from 32 countries.