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The Colombian National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (Unidad Nacional de Gestión del Riesgo de Desastres, UNGRD) has recently published the “Colombia Risk Atlas: Revealing Latent Disasters”. The publication strengthens the understanding of disaster risks at the national and regional level, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

The Atlas highlights different studies and technological innovations related to natural and technological hazards as well as statistical methods to measure risk for decision-making in the Colombian context. It includes maps that help understand and manage seismic activity, floods, tsunamis, tropical cyclons, forest fires, landslides and droughts among other disasters in Colombia. Moreover, it could be used as a tool to identify the municipalities that need to be studied in detail…

Publishing date 29/11/2018
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The Research and Development Center of Geographic Information (CIAF), an arm of the Geographic Institute Agustín Codazzi (IGAC), is developing a risk assessment system for the city of Villavicencio in Colombia. IGAC is a Regional Support Office of UN-SPIDER and responsible for advancing geographic investigations for the development of Colombia, and educating and training professionals in geographic information technologies.

The institute's new system includes the risk assessment of floods, landslides, debris and mudflow for the rural and urban area of the municipality. Previously, risk assessments and the regulation of land use in the country were traditionally carried out as relatively independent processes. This made a tangible adoption and implementation of risk management processes based on non-reactive intervention…

Publishing date 18/05/2018
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Floods in Colombia, Disaster Charter has been activated

Heavy rain caused rivers to burst their banks sending an avalanche of floodwater, mud and debris in the city of Mocoa in southern Colombia. The country’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, declared a state of emergency in the region. According to the aid officials, at least 206 people have been killed and other 202 injured. People were left with almost no drinking water and there is no electricity in the area. The International Charter was activated on 1 April 2017 by the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD). Although landslides and heavy rains are common in the area, March has been the country’s rainiest month since 2011, according to the state meteorological agency. There have been landslides and flooding in neighboring Peru as well, due to the unusual heavy rainfall this March.

  • Satellite based emergency mapping products…
Publishing date 04/04/2017

The Agustín Codazzi Geographic Institute -IGAC, through its Center for Research and Development of Geographic Information (CIAF), conducted a workshop on 27 October 2016 on the use of satellite information in early warning systems to deal with drought phenomena. The workshop was attended by professionals from entities including the National Institute of Innovation and Transfer in Agricultural Technology of Costa Rica  (INTA), and the Agricultural Planning Unit - UPRA of Colombia.

This workshop included in the generation of drought maps based on the application of spectral indexes such as: the Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) and the Standard Vegetation Index (SVI), using the R software. The development of this workshop was based on the recommended practices for drought…

Publishing date 09/12/2016
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The Colombian Regional Support Office of UN-SPIDER (IGAC) has provided a new Recommended Practice with detailed step-by-step procedures on how to derive useful information from satellite imagery. The practice deals with the changes in the extent of water bodies during El Niño and La Niña events based on optical Spot5 and RapidEye satellite imagery. It can be applied to identify areas that are most exposed to flooding based on historical events. The resulting maps provide useful information for contingency plans to support disaster preparedness.

The test site where this practice was developed is located in the Caribbean part of Colombia. According to a study conducted by the Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi (IGAC) applying the recommended practice, this region is among the most exposed to weather events due to the way the soil is used. The study concludes that the land can be classified as degraded or in the process of erosion, which leads to a lack of water retention…

Publishing date 28/01/2016
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Colombia, Ethiopia and Bangladesh will receive Esri’s support to enhance their climate resilience. They will learn how to visualize, understand and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Together with the White House and six other institutions, Esri will contribute through tools and trainings to the climate-resilient development of these three countries. Esri has already established a collaborative resource portal for Ethiopia on its online mapping and analysis platform, ArcGIS online, and is planning a further implementation in Colombia and Bangladesh.

“Climate change is a global issue that brings together government, utilities, non-governmental organizations, sophisticated cities, and developing countries. There is no single entity that can help developing countries plan for and adapt to…

Publishing date 11/06/2015

The Agustín Codazzi Geographic Institute (IGAC) through its Research and Development in Geographic Information - CIAF, is developing a methodology to support the identification of illegal areas of opencast mining activities in the north-east of Antioquia Department, Colombia, by using remote sensing and geographic information systems.

According to reports of Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy in 2011, 63% of the mines do not have legal permits. This makes it very difficult to control, monitor and regulate, which generates environmental and social risks at all levels. The situation greatly affects local communities.

The methodological design of the approach is based on the processing of remote sensing images such as RapidEye, Ultra CAMD and LDCM Landsat 8, visual interpretation, Object-Oriented Image Processing and radar interferometry. The results could enable the environmental authorities to develop a management tool based on remote sensing and geographic…

Publishing date 04/06/2015
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IGAC, the Agustín Codazzi Geographic Institute, UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Colombia, as part of the celebration of its 80 year anniversary, is presenting the sixth edition of the International Geomatics Week. This time the event will take place between 10 and 14 August of 2015 at the Wyndham Hotel Bogota, Colombia.

International Geomatic Week 2015 will focus on "Geospatial information for building peace" and include conferences, workshops, poster sessions, panels and trade shows, all focusing on technological innovations related to Geomatics technologies. The event will include the observation of the International Year of Soils and the Forum of Colombian Spatial Data Infrastructure - ICDE, with a special programme.

Topics will include:

  • Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI).
  • Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and their applications in agriculture, geology, urban uprisings, cartographic update.
  • Hyperspectral imaging.
  • Radar and Lidar…
Publishing date 14/05/2015
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Honduran and Colombian authorities participated in an exchange of knowledge to reduce disaster risk. Representatives from national and municipal authorities from both countries did a study visit in Colombia, preparatory sessions and workshops to share their experience. 

As Honduras is one of the countries that is most affected by climate change and disasters triggered by natural hazards the Honduran government wants to adopt a more proactive disaster risk management (DRM) approach, and therefore increase their knowlegde and capacity on how to incorporate risk reduction and prevention into overall development.

Colombia, on the other hand, has established itself as a role model in implementing a comprehensive DRM strategy, including technical assistance to municipalities. The South-South exchange provides a substantial increase in the knowledge and skills on how to consolidate policy and institutional frameworks with an integral emphasis on natural hazards.

Publishing date 08/04/2015

In order to transfer knowledge between institutions engaged in research, development and application of remote sensing and spatial information systems, the Codazzi-IGAC and Geographic Research Centre Application Professional (CIAF) gave a workshop on the use of remote sensing images in the case of floods and landslides on 3 October 2014. The workshop took place during the XVI International Symposium SELPER 2014. SELPER is the "Society of Latin American Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems Specialist".

The experts of CIAF trained participants in the use of remote sensing in the detection and analysis of floods and mass movements. The exercise was based on a case study from a project with Corantioquia, the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Antioquia.

IGAC has been host to…

Publishing date 29/10/2014
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The Research and Development in Geographic Information Centre (CIAF) of IGAC, UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Colombia, is working on the development of tools for disaster management and disaster relief.

One of its products is an application called SEMARK (Forest Fire Severity Markov Classification), which is the result of research conducted within the framework of a PhD thesis on the use of remote sensing techniques in forest fires.

SEMARK creates classifications of spectral indices derived from satellite imagery (NBR, NDVI, and SAVI) classifiers using Markov random fields (MRF). Based on the results, SEMARK can be used as an initial tool in the identification and quantification of areas affected by forest fires.

More information: alexander.ariza [at] (alexander[dot]ariza[at]igac[dot]gov[dot]co) and sergio.…

Publishing date 17/09/2014
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Continuing progress in studies and advancing in the area of drought monitoring in agricultural areas, the Remote Sensing Group of the Center for Research and Development in Geographic Information of IGAC (CIAF) in Colombia, has been analyzing time series of the Normalized Differenced Vegetation Index (NDVI) based on MODIS data obtained by NASA's Terra satellite.

Specifically, the researchers used MOD13Q images to obtain historical data on the severity and duration of drought in different regions of the country.

To automatically determine the maximum and minimum NDVI values, and also to identify the start and the end of the seasonal periods of pastures, CIAF uses the freely available software TIMESAT. This programme allows to adjust three statistical models, Gaussian, logistic and Savitsky-Golay, to analyze the…

Publishing date 28/08/2014
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CIAF, the “Research and Investigation Centre Remote Sensing Group and Geographic Applications” of UN-SPIDER's Colombia Regional Support Office IGAC, has developed a model to correct and process satellite images for automatic extraction of flood areas using image processing algorithms, called "CAIN" (Atmospheric Correction and Indexes of flooding). This project is being implemented within the framework of the technical assistance to the Colombian Corporation of Agricultural Research (CORPOICA, 2014).

The processing platform CAIN was developed under the PCI Geomatica Software 2013. This initiative is part of CIAF's efforts to improve geospatial information management and disaster and emergency response associated with agro-climatic risks by studying flood- and drought-related climatic events of the La Niña and El Niño phenomena.

Publishing date 30/07/2014
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The Colombian Research and Development Centre for Geographic Information (CIAF), which is part of UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Colombia, IGAC, is performing technical studies on airborne data collection using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The goal of the project is to obtain spectral vegetation indices, used to generate basic and thematic mapping at large scales in order to develop projects in precision agriculture and monitoring of crop fields.

Using data and information derived from UAVs could reduce costs, improve crop profitability and reduce the environmental impact of agricultural activity, since the application of agrochemicals can be adjusted to actual crop requirements.

The project is jointly conducted with CORPOICA (Colombian Corporation of Agricultural Research), with support from the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Publishing date 30/06/2014
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The Research and Investigation Centre of Remote Sensing and Geographic Applications (CIAF) of UN-SPIDER's Colombian Regional Support Office IGAC, met with the UK-based private company Surrey Satellite Technology on 30 May 2014, to discuss technical issues related to Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) and different applications that can be developed in the field of risk management and territorial organization. The meeting was organized jointly with the British Embassy in Colombia.

Surrey conceived the innovative and unique DMC, the first Earth observation constellation of low cost small satellites providing daily images for applications including global disaster monitoring. The constellation is coordinated by DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) for both commercial imaging programmes and to provide free satellite imagery for humanitarian use in the event of major international disasters covered by the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters (www.…

Publishing date 03/06/2014
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UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Colombia, the Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute (IGAC), announced that the first forum for the Colombian Spatial Data Infrastructure (ICDE) called "Trends in Geospatial Information Management" will be held on 29 and 30 May 2014, in the city of Bogotá on the premises of AR Hotel Salitre. IGAC is organizing the event in its role as the coordinator of ICDE, which is a group of the Colombian Space Commission (CEC) to develop a Spatial Data Infrastructure.

This event is aimed at managers, coordinators, technologists and professionals from different disciplines that are involved in management activities on geospatial information as a planning tool in the territories of Colombia.

The first forum of the ICDE responds to the growing need for more and better geospatial information. The big goal is that providers of geospatial data and information (such as producing entities or geospatial data producing agencies) should…

Publishing date 28/05/2014
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The Research and Investigation Centre of Remote Sensing and Geographic Applications (CIAF), which is part of UN-SPIDER's Colombian Regional Support Office IGAC, together with the support of the brand company Telespazio Geos (Telespazio) developed a training course on the interpretation of SAR images for application monitoring systems as a strategy to drive the research process and to update the knowledge database of active sensors. The course will take place between 10 and 13 June 2014.

The aim of the course will be to train participants in the processing of SAR images, particularly those from Cosmo SkyMed constellation of satellites, as a general basis for the use of SAR radar technology and its various applications.

The training course will cover aspects such as:

  • Principles and foundations of SAR images
  • Constellation data Cosmo - SkyMed
  • SAR images composed
  • Geometric correction of SAR images
  • Calibration of SAR images
Publishing date 27/05/2014
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The Master's programme in Remote Sensing of the Catholic University of Manizales of Colombia and UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Colombia, IGAC, will organize their first international seminar on remote sensing from 8 to 10 May 2014 on the premises of the Catholic University of Manizales.

The seminar is embedded in a strategy to streamline and promote this research area and further develop technologies to process and analyze remotely sensed data.

The seminar focuses on topics such as the application of remote sensing in risk management, specifically in the prevention of forest fires, erosion, deforestation and desertification, as well as in the context of land use and environmental management. This seminar will be carried out by institutions and instructors with extensive knowledge and international experience.

The seminar represents a great opportunity for the…

Publishing date 25/04/2014
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UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Colombia, the Geographic Institute Agustín Codazzi (IGAC), through their Research and Investigation Centre (CIAF), has been working on a spectral library project. It includes research on spectrometry applied to the analysis of land cover (water bodies, soil and minerals, vegetation and island areas), in order to build spectral libraries for each type of land cover. The project will result in a large database of spectral signatures, which can be used in digital processing of remote sensing images.

By characterizing the spectral response of each of the cover types studied, the project opens a wide range of geomatics applications in the area of risk management, environmental characterization, monitoring of vegetation cover, precision agriculture, and many others.

The spectral data will be accessible through a web…

Publishing date 26/03/2014
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UN-SPIDER's network of Regional Support Offices is currently developing Recommended Practices on the use of space-based information for disaster risk management and emergency response. The practices deal with a variety of topics such as droughts, floods, agricultural monitoring or land degradation and include detailed information on the data and methodologies used as well as step-by-step instructions.

Six practices have already been submitted by Regional Support Office with others to follow. These practices will be discussed at the upcoming 5th UN-SPIDER RSO-Meeting on 13 and 14 February 2014 in Vienna, Austria, and will be disseminated through the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal once final.

Flood Mapping: This practice is devoted to the use of SAR satellite imagery for flood mapping. The practice shows the use of ESA NEST software for pre-processing and processing of SAR imagery using a threshold method for deriving the flood extent. QuantumGIS is used…

Publishing date 03/02/2014

The UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office in Colombia, Instituto Geografico Agustin Codazzi (IGAC), has enhanced its capacities to create accurate maps and baselines by acquiring a GeoImaging Accelerator (GXL) Satellite and Aerial processing system from the remote sensing software provider PCI Geomatics.

“The speed, accuracy, and multi-sensor support of the system were determining factors in selecting PCI’s GXL for our projects,” said Jaime Duarte, Assistant Director of Cartography and Mapping at IGAC. “Creating mosaics of over 1,000,000 km2 is an enormous task that requires exceptional speed and automation (...).”

IGAC develops and provides information and knowledge related to cartography, agrology, cadastral, geography and geospatial technologies. It is responsible, among others, for developing the official map of Colombia…

Publishing date 30/01/2014
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UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Colombia, IGAC, has published a guide in Spanish for the use and processing of LDCM-Landsat 8 products. It was elaborated by IGAC's Centre Remote Sensing Group and Geographic Applications (CIAF), which is an unbiased, multi-disciplinary science organization that focuses on biology, geography, geology, geospatial information, and water, dedicated to the timely, relevant, and impartial study of the landscape, our natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten Colombia.

NASA's Landsat programme represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provide a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research…

Publishing date 04/11/2013
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The Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute (IGAC), host to UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Colombia, successfully ended the fourth version of the International Geomatics Week. The 2013 event focused on "geospatial technologies and management of the territory". The event took place from 30 September to 4 October in Bogota, Colombia. It was attended by 103 senior professionals in different fields related to Geomatics, including: Seventy-five national experts and eighteen international experts as Germany, Austria, Cuba, Spain, United States, Holland, India, Iraq, Poland and Puerto Rico.

There were thirty workshops, eighty-eight conferences, exhibition posters, two panel discussions, and other scientific technical activities that allowed the participation of one thousand professionals approximately, about different fields of application in geospatial technologies such as risk management, land planning, environment, reference systems and satellite navigation, and others.…

Publishing date 01/11/2013
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The internal network of the Remote Sensing Group and Geographic Applications of CIAF- IGAC is working on a project for the adaptation of the FAO methodology LCCS “Land Cover Classification System" as an alternative classification system for natural resources management in Colombia. IGAC is UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Colombia; CIAF is IGAC's Center of Research and Development in Geographic Information.

The LCCS is a standard classification system, designed to meet the specific requirements of users, allowing mapping, regardless of the scale or means used. This system was applied to classify land cover nationwide specifically in the area of the jurisdiction of the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Cundinamarca (CAR). Applied at a 1:100,000 scale, the system used a set of independent diagnostic criteria called classifiers, which allowed to correlate with existing classifications and legends like the National legend CORINE (IDEAM-Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology…

Publishing date 24/07/2013
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On 30 September 2013, UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Colombia, IGAC, will kick off the “Geomatic Week 2013” in Bogota, Colombia. The event aims at promoting academic and technological advances leading to the development of technologies, methodologies and applications in the field of Geomatics.

International Geomatic Week 2013 will particularly look at geospatial technologies and management of the territory, developed through Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Digital Mapping - decisive frameworks for using satellite data for development planning.

Between September 30 and October 4, 2013, a selected group of local and international experts will exchange experiences and knowledge aimed at studying the evolution of Geomatics in conceptual aspects, methodological, technological and applications, highlighting their contribution to the sustainable development of nations.

For more information contact…

Publishing date 20/06/2013
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