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The Sentinel Asia initiative is an international collaboration among space agencies, disaster management agencies, and international agencies for applying remote sensing and Web-GIS technologies to support disaster management in the Asia-Pacific region. Its aims include the following:
- Improve safety in society by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and space technologies
- Improve the speed and accuracy of disaster preparedness and early warning
- Minimize the number of victims and social/economic losses
According to statistics presented in the Natural Disasters Data Book 2013, a publication of the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC),Asia has incurred serious damages from natural disasters over the last 30 years. The region sustained 48 percent of global fatalities from natural disasters and 89 percent of the total victims of such disasters. Therefore, APRSAF proposed Sentinel Asia in 2005 to showcase the value and impact of Earth observation technologies in combination with near real-time Internet dissemination methods and Web-GIS mapping tools for disaster management support in the Asia-Pacific region. Sentinel Asia is promoted by cooperating partners in the space community such as APRSAF, the international community—including UN ESCAP, UN OOSA, ASEAN, and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)—and the disaster management community, including the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) and its member countries.
The main activities of Sentinel Asia are as follows:
- Emergency observation by Earth observation satellites upon request in cases of major disasters
- Working group activities focusing on specific disasters such as wildfire, flood, glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), and tsunami
- Capacity building and human resources development for effective disaster management
A step-by-step approach was adopted for the implementation of Sentinel Asia as follows:
Implementation of the data dissemination system as a pilot project to form the backbone of Sentinel Asia and showcase the value and impact of technology using standard Internet dissemination systems (2006–2007).
Expansion of the dissemination backbone with new satellite communication systems and enhancement of activities based on requirements and experiences acquired during Step 1 (2008–2012)
Support for mitigation/preparedness and response and recovery activities through utilization of many and various satellites, including Earth observation, communications, and navigation satellites, based on the human network and further joint operation by the Joint Project Team (2013–Present)
As Sentinel Asia evolves to activate and reinforce its expected functions, a steering committee will be established to ensure that the development plan consists of three concepts: joint drive, end-user- orientation, and strategic management.
The concept of Sentinel Asia Step 3 is as follows:
- Successor to Step 2’s activities, basically
- Expansion from response (Step 1 and 2) to cover mitigation/preparedness and the recovery phase in the disaster management cycle
- Participation of various satellites: Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, and navigation satellites
- Further collaboration for operation
- Further utilization and human networking through capacity building and outreach