Satellite Photos Show Destruction from Haiti Earthquake
New images taken from space reveal more of the destruction caused by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday.?
One photo of central Port-au-Prince, near the epicenter of the Haiti earthquake, shows the Haitian National Palace, which collapsed. The photograph was taken Wednesday by the GeoEye 1 Earth-observing satellite.
The imagery also reveals extensive damage throughout the city, including roads covered with debris from collapsed structures, people crowded in the streets and in open public places, such as sports fields and stadiums. Many buildings appear to be flattened. The white-colored National Palace shows damage along the roof line.
Satellite photos can help rescue workers.
Following the Haiti earthquake, a group of organizations requested satellite data of the area from the International Charter on 'Space and Major Disasters,' in order to provide this data free to anyone affected by disasters anywhere in the world. The groups involved included: French Civil Protection authorities, Public Safety of Canada, American Earthquake Hazards Program of USGS and the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti.
The photos taken immediately after the event can be used to generate emergency maps to provide rescue services with an overview of the current state of the area. These can be compared with situation maps generated from archived satellite data to identify major changes on the ground caused by the disaster.
By comparing before and after maps, officials can pinpoint areas hit the hardest and proceed to identify passable routes for relief and rescue workers, according to the European Space Agency, which also released a space-based photo of Haiti. Additionally, they can help to identify areas that are suitable for setting up aid camps where medical support and shelter can be provided to people.?
Radar satellites in particular can be valuable, as they can peer through clouds, which is an asset when weather conditions prevent the use of optical satellite instruments. Radar imagery can be used to identify hazards such as landslides that may be triggered by earthquakes like that in Haiti.
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