Disaster Management Special Interest Group
The aim of the Disaster Manaagement SIG is to promote best practice and innovative applications in the use of remote sensing and photogrammetry in all aspects of disaster management, both pre-disaster (e.g. disaster preparedness; hazard, vulnerability and risk assessment) and post-disaster (e.g. crisis response, damage estimation and disaster recovery).
16th September 2016, Lloyd's of London
Remote Sensing for Disaster Risk Reduction and Insurance, was the theme of a briefing recently held in the Old Library of the Lloyd's Building in the City of London. The event, jointly hosted by RSPSoc and AGI, and sponsored by MS Amlin and Aon Benfield Impact Forecasting, brought together around 90 insurance, risk and remote sensing professionals to discuss how this exciting technology can help traditional and upcoming insurance markets.
The abstract booklet from the meeting is now available HERE
Satellite Remote Sensing: Disaster Risk Reduction & Insurance Uses Programme
Phil Godwin (Lloyd’s claims) set the scene by providing an overview of how remote sensing technology was improving efficiency for claims handlers by reducing costs required for field surveys and overcoming constraints to access affected sites (see Godwin presentation). The resolution of satellite imagery is so good nowadays that we can clearly identify if a building has been destroyed, as used in Fort McMurray, thus adding another layer of confidence in claims handling. Remote sensing is becoming essential if insurers want to keep at the forefront of industry.
Sean McCarthy gave an interesting overview of Government involvement in promoting the UK space industry for the benefit of commercial companies and illustrated how insurers can make use of practical applications and products from Remote Sensing and satellite technologies (see McCarthy presentation). Catapult is looking to break down existing silos in the Earth Observation industry by understanding better what is stopping data being integrated. There are nine Catapult businesses in total, which link together to help bridge academic and business interests. There is opportunity with the latest technology of cube satellites that can be easily released into space, crowed sourced sensors and even video from space: What kind of data can we obtain from these new satellite developments? How can we use this data? And how accessible can it be made for real time information? For example, ground movement and subsidence can be monitored with granular enough data that could predict loss before it happens.
Grant Day went further and talked about typical start-ups with examples of how remote sensing is helping the marine economy and marine applications (see Day presentation). Catapult is supporting funded university projects by helping to turn these into useful products for industry. He pointed out that the space industry is continuing to grow while costs of data are rapidly reducing.
Colm Jordan’s talk focussed on geological risks and the British Geological Survey are using Remote Sensing (RS) data for forecast volcano models, monitoring landslide risks, mapping historical tsunami areas to identify wave behaviour, as well as modelling of future geological risks (see Jordan presentation).
Gavin Lewis, Tina Thomson and Chris Ewing brought examples of how remote sensing and associated products are being used in the insurance industry for exposure management, catastrophe model development, event response and quick assessment of claims (see Lewis, Thomson and Ewing presentations). More work is required to develop early warning systems especially as insurers look to take on more high risks through ceding to pools such as the new Flood Re initiative in the UK. Richard Teeuw and Naomi Morris provided examples for the developing world and how free data can help in disaster risk reduction and humanitarian settings (see Teeuw presenation).
Overall the event provided some insights into how the London market is using remote sensing, highlighting opportunities as the technology is advancing and set to overcome its existing limitations around data availability, resolution, costs and sensors. The Q and A session brought a 'call to arms' to initiate the sharing of RS data for both disaster risk reduction (DRR) and insurance with the common aim of being better prepared and forewarned for natural disasters. A session on the DRR and Insurance theme is now being considered for the 2017 annual conference of RSPSoc.
Resources: DMSIG has produced the Quick Guide to Free Geoinformatics for Disaster Management: a catalogue of weblinks to free geospatial data, free geoinformatic software and free online tutorials for some of the freeware, which can be downloaded from this webpage.