Peripatetic Event

The Application of Space Technology in Disaster Management

With Europe experiencing a historic year for disasters in 2023, the need for a wide range of disaster management solutions is becoming increasingly apparent. With intense storms, flash floods, and other extreme weather events causing massive damage across the continent last year, the need for sufficient preparation, response, and recovery strategies has never been more profound.

One of the most exciting pathways for improved disaster management comes in the form of new space tech applications, with earth observations becoming more and more relevant in preparedness and response methodologies. We’re going to unpack some of the applications of space technology in the disaster management cycle, digging into what this branch is capable of in terms of reducing the human and economic costs of disasters.

Harnessing Satellite-Derived Data for Disaster Preparedness

Earth observation satellite technology is a vital element in the disaster management cycle, offering a comprehensive view of areas that either are being or might be impacted by a disaster. Observation satellites offer a continuous and objective analysis of weather variables and environmental conditions – vital for accurately predicting and preparing for disasters.

Beyond simply planning for damage mitigation or evacuation routes, this space tech can also predict droughts and crop failures, ensuring communities plan for potential food shortages. Satellite technology can also be used to detect ground movement, predict landslides, and even pre-empt volcanic eruptions, meaning it’s similarly applicable to seismic activity and weather events.

The Global Human Settlement Layer & Human Analysis

The JRC, part of the EU Science Hub, uses satellite technology to establish the Global Human Settlement Layer – the focus of which is observing areas to determine their vulnerability against disasters in terms of the more human elements, This means focusing on things like urban growth and sprawl, especially in slums or poorer areas, to help figure out how at risk their populations are, which can inform urban planning and preparation.

Emergency Mapping:

When the worst does strike, space technology plays a huge part in emergency mapping – helping to facilitate the best possible relief measures from the emergency services and any other aid providers. The high-quality imagery that satellites can produce allows for a better assessment of damage, both during and after disasters. This allows for the efficient prioritising of response areas, while also helping with recovery monitoring.

Communication & Connectivity

Communication and connectivity are aspects of space tech that we take for granted daily, with it impossible to imagine a world without the internet in this day and age. This doesn’t mean they’re not essential to a proper disaster response and recovery campaign. The channels of communication open with satellites allow for the rapid sharing of satellite data, digital resources, and other nuggets of real-time information.

Satellites are also crucial for offering internet connectivity to affected areas and communities, ensuring that they can access information and communication channels during the recovery stage. This helps to keep impacted people in the know with updates and info throughout the process.

Space Tech – Disaster Management’s Often Unsung Hero


The contributions of space tech can’t be understated when it comes to the disaster management cycle, with earth observation satellites being vital for preparation, response, and recovery. Between offering predictive analysis for meteorological and seismic activity, mapping out clear response pathways, and ultimately keeping the flow of information smooth, the technology is essential from start to finish.

However, in many cases, space technology isn’t utilised as effectively or comprehensively as it can be. Issues like budgetary restraints or a lack of collaboration can stand in the way of the tech being used properly. For a more resilient, well-prepared global community, it’s clear that this technology needs to become more accessible, shared, and advocated for.

Learn More About Space Technology in Disaster Management

If you’re eager to learn more about the application of space technologies in disaster management, then you should attend this year's Disasters Expo Europe, ensuring that you save some time to see Pascal LEGAI’s from European Space Agency - ESA, Keynote Session on: Space Technologies in Response to Disaster: From Detection to Recovery.

As the Senior Security Advisor to the European Space Agency (ESA) Director General, working primarily on the Rapid & Resilient Crisis Response Accelerator, there’s no one more qualified to give this talk than Pascal LEGAI. Throughout the session, he’ll offer valuable insights into how the ESA is working to accelerate the use and application of space technology in response to disasters, detailing what disaster management needs in terms of both ground and space technologies working as one.

For access to this session, among many other illuminating talks across a massive range of topics, register for your complimentary ticket to Disasters Expo Europe here.

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