Marking International Day for Disaster Reduction today, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP) affiliated to the United Nations have launched a new online learning course on how to use space applications for disaster management.
The training is through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that benefits from the input of experts from space agencies, research centres and the space industry all over the world. It is a free and flexible training programme for everyone who wants to enhance their capabilities to use geospatial and Earth observation technologies in disaster risk management.
The course was developed by the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response ( UN-SPIDER), a programme of UNOOSA that supports, since its establishment in 2006, countries all over the world, in particular developing countries, in accessing and leveraging space technologies for addressing natural and technological disasters, and in implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
CSSTEAP is hosted by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is one of the Regional Centres for Space Science and Education affiliated with the United Nations. The centres aim to develop the skills and knowledge of university educators and researchers in space science and technology, especially in aspects that contribute the most to sustainable development.
The MOOC offers two tracks: Track-1 is for professionals interested in the latest developments in disaster risk management and how geospatial and Earth observation technologies contribute to it. After completing Track-1, participants have the option to continue with Track-2 to learn about geospatial applications for specific disaster types in depth. As well as following the lectures, MOOC participants can check their progress through quizzes and put their newly acquired knowledge into practice by developing maps and other information products using UN-SPIDER Recommended Practices to process and visualize space-based information.
UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said: "Space provides us with unique tools to reduce disaster risk, and UNOOSA aims to ensure everyone, everywhere, is aware of these possibilities and can leverage them. This online training helps reduce barriers to accessing space data and tools for disaster management by transferring the necessary know-how through an agile, digital platform. I am confident this effort will contribute to saving lives and supporting sustainable development worldwide."
Chairman of the CSSTEAP-Governing Board/ISRO, Dr. K. Sivan said: "Geospatial Technology, consisting of space based Remote Sensing, Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS), offers powerful tools for disaster assessment, monitoring and management. ISRO provides the satellite-based, almost real-time information support to relevant entities and is actively contributing to international efforts on disaster management, including the International Charter 'Space & Major Disasters', Sentinel Asia and UNESCAP. I am sure that the learning from this meticulously designed MOOC programme will help participants learn more about the potential of Geospatial Technology to manage disasters."
Registrations for the course are now open here: https://isat.iirs.gov.in/mooc.php.