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Space technology used to fight forest fires in Greece


WEBWIRE

Toulouse.- On Sunday 23 August, at 20:15, the Hellenic General Secretariat for Civil Protection requested that the European Services and Applications for Emergency Response (SAFER) be put in to effect to help fight the fires raging around Athens.

* Astriumís subsidiary, Infoterra France, is coordinating operations

* SAFER is an emergency service that produces maps from satellite images as part of the GMES programme


Developed as part of the European Commissionís Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (GMES) programme, SAFER is an emergency service that produces maps from satellite images to help the work of disaster and emergency services. The European Space Agency will ask several satellite operators, including Spot Image, to supply images of the Athens area. The Greek Civil Protection teams will then receive a series of maps showing how the situation is developing on the ground. The maps will also allow Greek authorities to accurately measure the extent of the damage caused by the fires.


Introduced in January 2009, SAFER is now operational with teams on standby 24/7. Astriumís subsidiary, Infoterra France, is coordinating operations. The service draws on the skills and know-how of many service providers and European research centres that specialise in Earth observation and risk management, such as SERTIT, CNES, DLR and Telespazio.


Since early July 2009, the GMES SAFER service has been called on four times: satellite images have already been used to fight fires in Marseille, Sardinia and AullŤne in southern Corsica.



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