Published: 13 May 2016

Disaster monitoring from space

The Surrey Space Centre is a world leader in space engineering and its research is having far-reaching consequences. One striking example of its achievements is the launch of the first international satellite constellation dedicated to monitoring disasters worldwide.

The Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) consists of a unique set of earth observation satellites that deliver high-frequency imaging from anywhere across the globe. Surrey research, from cloud feature extraction to vegetation stress signatures, has enabled DMC to offer highly competitive space-derived data and information services to agricultural and environmental communities, helping to map land use, pollution levels and inform emergency planning. 

The global imaging service provides critical and timely information for international disaster assessment and relief agencies, impacting upon hundreds of thousands of lives. It has been used as part of the preparations for Beijing Olympics and continues to provide annual assessments of deforestation and illegal logging in the Amazon basin rainforest. Some of its latest imaging has focused on mapping wildfires in Argentina and highlighting the extent of some of the burn scars caused by the fires.

By dramatically lowering the cost of sophisticated Earth observation satellites, Surrey has enabled other nations to develop their own space activities, allowing them to better manage their national resources and security and participate more fully in international affairs. The DMC concept pioneered by Surrey has had wide-scale impact and has been emulated internationally in China, Japan and France.

To find out more about the Disaster Monitor Constellation in action and for the latest high-resolution images, visit the DMC International Imaging website. For further information on Surrey’s space engineering research, please visit the Surrey Space Centre website.

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