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Category Archives: Remote Sensing Law

U.S. agencies back DigitalGlobe bid to sell sharper images

Source – Reuters:

U.S. agencies back DigitalGlobe bid to sell sharper images
TAMPA/WASHINGTON Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:46pm EDT

(Reuters) – The U.S. intelligence community has thrown its support behind a bid by commercial space imagery providerDigitalGlobe Inc to sell higher resolution images from its satellites, the leading U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday.
DigitalGlobe has pressed the government for years to allow it to sell such imagery but U.S. government agencies worried that giving public access to them could undermine the intelligence advantage they have from even higher resolution satellite images. . . .[Full Story]


European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2014 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Copernicus Programme and repealing Regulation (EU) No 911/2010 (COM(2013)0312 – C7-0195/2013 – 2013/0164(COD)) (Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Source – EU Parliament:

European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2014 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Copernicus Programme and repealing Regulation (EU) No 911/2010 (COM(2013)0312 – C7-0195/2013 – 2013/0164(COD)) (Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

– having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2013)0312),

– having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 189(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0195/2013),

– having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

– having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 16 October 2013(1) ,

– after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

– having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 20 December 2013 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

– having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

– having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0027/2014),

1. Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2. Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3. Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

(1) OJ C 67, 6.3.2014, p. 88.

. . .

Disasters Charter: Missing Malaysia Airlines jet

The Disasters charter has been activated for Missing Malaysia Airlines jet:

Missing Malaysia Airlines jet

Type of Event: Other – Missing aircraft
Location of Event: South China Sea
Date of Charter Activation: 11 March 2014
Charter Requestor: China Meteorological Administration
Project Management: China Meteorological Administration

Description of the Event
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared from radar on 07 March 2014. The jet was carrying 239 people (12 crew and 227 passengers) and has yet to be found despite a multi-national search.
The aircraft departed from Kuala Lumpur at 16:41 UTC and was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 22:30, but Vietnamese air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft at 17:30 (01:30 local time).
An international search began for the aircraft in the South China Sea, the last known location of the jet, but four days later no sign of the aircraft had been found. The search area has since been expanded to the Malacca Strait, on the western coast of Malaysia. And on 15 March the search shifted to as far as the Indian Ocean.
There has been much speculation regarding the fate of the aircraft. No debris has been found and though several oil slicks have been investigated it was determined that they were not from the aircraft. Two passengers aboard the jet were under suspicion, following an investigation that revealed that they were using stolen passports, but Interpol has since dismissed any terrorist connections for the two passengers.
No distress signals have been received from the plane and it remains unknown what happened. It has been noted by investigators that it is very unusual for an airliner to simply disappear in such a manner.
Both naval vessels and aircraft from at least ten different countries are participating in the search. Satellite imagery is now being employed to search for any evidence of the plane, both before and after it disappeared. China is utilising ten of its satellites to image the search area. The United States imaging corporation, DigitalGlobe, has started a crowdsourcing campaign in which over two million volunteers have studied DigitalGlobe images of the area.
More than 20 countries are participating in the search and the latest reports indicate that the plane turned back after take-off and passed over Malaysia and then headed north-west. Evidence suggests the plane flew for several hours after communication with air traffic controllers was lost.
As of 17 March 2014, the search remains ongoing.

U.K. Blocks Bid To Create Common European Imagery Policy

Source – Space News:

U.K. Blocks Bid To Create Common European Imagery Policy
By Peter B. de Selding | Jan. 30, 2014

David Willetts, Britain’s minister for science and universities, said the British government has concluded that a blanket EU regulation would undermine the commercial high-resolution satellite image industry in Europe. Credit: BBC photo
BRUSSELS — The European Commission’s effort to set common European regulations on the sale of high-resolution satellite imagery outside Europe has been blocked by the British government and is likely to be watered down to an advisory notice instead of a binding policy, European government officials said. . . . [Full Story]

Disasters Charter: Forest fire in Mt. Japfu, India

The Disasters Charter has been activated for a Forest fire in Mt. Japfu, India:

Forest fire in Mt. Japfu, India

Type of Event: Forest fire
Location of Event: Mount Japfu, India
Date of Charter Activation: 05 February 2014
Charter Requestor: NRSC / ISRO
Project Management:

Description of the Event
A forest fire broke out on the peak of Mount Japfu in India’s Kohima District on 31 January 2014. It is estimated that almost seven kilometres of the peak have been affected so far and the fire has been described as one of the country’s worst in recent history.

Mount Japfu is located in the state of Nagaland in the north-east of India and is home to a great deal of flora. The Dzouku Valley, part of the mountain range, is well known for this, and has been dubbed the ‘Valley of Flowers’.
Several hundred firefighters and volunteers have been working to stop the fires since last week, and the Indian Air Force deployed helicopters to help on 03 February. The helicopters sprayed water over the fires in areas which could not be reached by land. The worst of the fires were doused but some fires have continued and there are concerns that the fires may move toward Dzouku Valley.

Disasters Charter: Flood in Huancavelica, Peru

The Disasters Charter has been activated for Flood in Huancavelica, Peru:

Flood in Huancavelica, Peru

Type of Event: Flood
Location of Event: Huancavelica, Peru
Date of Charter Activation: 21 January 2014
Charter Requestor: CONAE on behalf of National Civil Protection Agency of Peru (INDECI)
Project Management:

Description of the Event
At 04:00 hours, local time, on 20 January 2014, a landslide occurred over the River Mantaro in the Huancavelica Province of Peru. The landslide and potential mudslides in the area have disrupted transport and it is expected that flooding will follow along riverside villages.
Caused by several days of heavy rain, the landslide occurred in Huayllapampa and the Civil Protection Agency of Peru’s initial evaluation estimates that 33 people in the area were affected, 33 houses had collapsed and one railway was affected. 2430 people were considered at risk as well as 1065 houses.
The heavy rain has caused disruption in nearby Cuzco, where several people have died and almost 2000 tourists were stranded at Machu Pichu when the railway was cut off to the Incan tourist destination. It is forecast that 15 of Peru’s 25 regions will be affected by the rain, which is expected to end on 21 January.

Disasters Charter: Volcano in Indonesia

The Disasters Charter was activated for Volcano in Indonesia:

Volcano in Indonesia

Type of Event: Volcano
Location of Event: Mount Sinabung – Sumatra, Indonesia
Date of Charter Activation: 07 January 2014
Charter Requestor: USGS on behalf of Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia
Project Management: Cascades Volcano Observatory

Description of the Event
On 06 January the Mount Sinabung erupted 115 times between midnight on 04 January and noon on 06 January and remains highly active. The government of Indonesia expanded its evacuation zone which has displaced over 23,000 people.
The evacuation zone around the volcano is 5km and in the north east and south east sectors the zone has been extended to 7km and two more towns are to be evacuated displacing up to 60,000 people.
Soldiers have joined the rescue operation centred on the villages of Jewara and Pintu Besi where temporary shelters were erected when the alert status for Sinabung was raised to its highest level in November 2013.
Local authorities are now planning alongside government agencies and local disaster relief programmes should further eruptions take place.

Disasters Charter: Flood in England, UK

The Disasters Charter has been activated for a Flood in England, UK:

Flood in England, UK

Type of Event: Flood
Location of Event: England, United Kingdom
Date of Charter Activation: 06 January 2014
Charter Requestor: Environment Agency (of England and Wales)
Project Management:

Description of the Event
Ongoing storms and heavy rain since 23 December 2013 has caused flooding across the United Kingdom. One person has been reported killed, and it is estimated that over 300 properties have been flooded so far.
In England a number of major rivers are in the process of flooding, or are expected to do so over the next few days. Significant flooding is expected along the Thames, Severn, and Stour rivers. Due to the continuing rain, saturated ground is also contributing to flooding.
Roads and train services have been disrupted by the flooding and turbulent conditions.
The Environment Agency has issued over 200 flood alerts as of 06 January and more storms are forecast to bring further rain and coastal flooding along the south east and west of England over the coming days. Residents of areas affected by flooding are urged to take care and avoid coastal areas due to the risk of storm surges and high tides.
It is estimated that over 200,000 properties have been protected by the existing flood defences, and further measures are being implemented in an attempt to stem further flooding.

EU: Industry Committee approves Copernicus, the EU’s new Earth Observation System

Source – EU Parliament:

Industry Committee approves Copernicus, the EU’s new Earth Observation System
ITRE Press release – Environment / Civil protection − 28-11-2013 – 16:38

Copernicus, the EU’s new Earth Observation System, was approved by the Industry Committee on Thursday. Replacing the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme, it will have a €3.79 billion budget for 2014-2020. Its data will serve many purposes, including monitoring climate change and protecting public security.

Vittorio Prodi (S&D, IT), who drafted the approved text, said the primary objective of Copernicus is to “benefit European citizens in a variety of fields, specifically for environment and climate change purposes”. “The environmental monitoring of air, water and soil will help improve health, for instance. Other applications can aid significantly agriculture activities, through a more effective control of our agricultural and fish resources”, he added.
Mr Prodi added that: “Copernicus will generate a financial benefit of some €30 billion and a minimum of around 50,000 new jobs over the period 2015-2030. Studies show that these benefits could multiply by a factor between 5 and 10 if adequate downstream enabling factors are in place”.

Providing free of charge information in vital areas

Copernicus must ensure access to full, open and free-of-charge information in the areas of land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security, said the Committee. This data would be gathered from several Earth observation satellites and a multitude of sensors on the ground, at sea or in the air.

For instance, Copernicus data on water quality will help public authorities to enhance protection of bathing waters, detect jelly fish populations and predict algal blooms.


MEPs sought to ensure a clear breakdown of the programme’s €3.79 billion budget for 2014-2020(at 2011 prices) and to encourage a longer-term approach to providing services (beyond the EU’s 7-year long-run budget).

Next steps

MEPs will start negotiations with EU member states next week for an informal deal on the new rules governing Copernicus.