On 27th November and 2nd December representatives of the Global Flood Monitoring Alliance successfully kicked off the global satellite-based flood monitoring service (GSFM) coordinated by the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The service aims at the development and operation of a fully automatic global, Sentinel-1 based flood monitoring service, which enables a continuous systematic monitoring of flood events.
Up to now, satellite-based flood mapping has essentially been a human-controlled process. Given the long chain of decisions and non-automated actions, many flood events have either not been adequately covered or respectively the information came too late for emergency response planning. The GSFM service will fully exploit the unique capabilities of the all-weather, day-and-night SAR data provided by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission in order to realise a continuous global, systematic, and automated monitoring of all land surface areas. The GSFM service will be complementing the existing Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) components for flood early warning and on-demand mapping.
The data will provide a continuous and near-real time (NRT) global monitoring of all major flood events by the systematic delineation of flooded areas and their impacts, thereby:
- enable a continuous global, systematic identification and monitoring of flood events,
- enhance the timeliness of flood maps for emergency response due to its fully automated process,
- improve the effectiveness of Rapid Mapping activation requests through a better identification of the area of interest, and
- enable user specified flood alert information free of cost for any person.
The Global Flood Monitoring Alliance is consisting of
- Earth Observation Data Center (EODC – Group Leader, Austria)
- GeoVille Information System and Data Processing (Austria)
- Technical University Wien (TUW, Austria)
- Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST, Luxembourg)
- Centro Internazionale in Monitoraggio Ambientale – Fondazione (CIMA, Italy)
- German Aerospace Center (DLR, as sub-contractor).
As flood mapping is addressing harmful and costly natural disasters, the ease of access to this flood monitoring service is most critical. The GSFM will be relevant to a variety of users and authorities that administrate the prevention, response and recovery activities for emergencies and natural disasters. The data access and product visualisation must allow fast and well-guided interpretation and downstream application. It is therefore of high importance to establish easy and intuitive access modes to the flood product, opening it up to a broad audience comprising different user proficiency levels and backgrounds. This will be accomplished by the provision of different distribution channels, backed-up by proven, powerful and reliable system- and software architectures. We designed this setup with the goal to facilitate high product availability and performant data access, as well as integration in existing services and scaling-out to heavy usage in case of flood events and emergencies.