U.S.-EU Satellite Agreement Helps Emergency Responders

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 30, 2018

The 2018 hurricane season will officially end on Friday, November 30, and the United States is grateful to the European Union for its assistance during a season of intense and record-breaking storms. U.S. emergency managers have once again benefited from information provided by the European Union’s Copernicus Earth observation program. Copernicus’s Earth observation satellites, known as Sentinels, generate images used to produce flood-extent maps, which are critical for emergency responders’ assessments of a storm or flood’s severity.

In October, when Hurricane Michael became the most powerful storm on record to hit the Florida Panhandle, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) published over 25 flood-extent maps, which the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) used to assess the full impact of this storm on affected states in the Southeast. The Copernicus EMS also provided U.S. responders support in the wake of Typhoon Mangkhut, which struck Guam in the Pacific, and Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, and in 2017, Copernicus provided over 30 flood-extent map products for U.S. territories affected by successive tropical storms.

U.S. emergency managers have found great value in the near-real time, geospatial analytical products prepared by the Copernicus operation centers in Europe. As the 2018 hurricane season ends this month, U.S. emergency management agencies are grateful for Europe’s “full, free, and open” data policy.

For press inquiries, please contact OES-PA-DG@state.gov.