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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Environ. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2019.00127

The Value of Near Real-Time Earth Observations for Improved Flood Disaster Response

  • 1Universities Space Research Association (USRA), United States
  • 2Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, United States

Information is a critical resource in disaster response scenarios. Data regarding the geographic extent, severity, and socioeconomic impacts of a disaster event can help guide emergency responders and relief operations, particularly when delivered within hours of data acquisition. Information from remote observations provides a valuable tool for assessing conditions ‘on the ground’ more quickly and efficiently. Here, we evaluate the social value of a near real-time flood impact system using a disaster response case study, and quantify the Value of Information (VOI) of satellite-based observations for rapid response using a hypothetical flooding disaster in Bangkok, Thailand. MODIS imagery from NASA’s Land, Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) system is used to produce operational estimates of inundation depths and economic damages. These rapid Earth observations are coupled with a decision-analytical model to inform decisions on emergency vehicle routing. Emergency response times from vehicles routed using flood damage data are compared with baseline routes without the benefit of advance information on road conditions. Our results illustrate how the application of near real-time Earth observations can improve the response time and reduce potential encounters with flood hazards when compared with baseline routing strategies. Results indicate a potential significant economic benefit (i.e. millions of dollars) from applying near real-time Earth observations for improved flood disaster response and management.

Keywords: Value of Information (VoI), Near real time (NRT), Emergency response, Applied Earth Observations, socioeconomic

Received: 01 Jun 2019; Accepted: 16 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Oddo and Bolten. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Perry C. Oddo, Universities Space Research Association (USRA), Columbia, United States, perry.oddo@nasa.gov