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Chilean Military Geographical Institute Participates in Initiative to Improve Natural Disaster Prediction

Chilean Military Geographical Institute Participates in Initiative to Improve Natural Disaster Prediction

By Dialogo
September 04, 2015

I SEE NO TASK FORCES OR STRATEGIES BY OUR ARMED FORCES. JUST SOME CONGRATULATIONS BY THE PRESIDENCY FOR RISKS TAKEN AND FUNDAMENTALLY WORK DONE BY SOME OF OUR ARMED FORCES. THANK YOU I am interested in contacting makers of buoys able to announce tsunamis on our Pacific coast. The idea is to let small fishing artisans know so they can prepare their boats and their work elements early, and obviously their lives.

Héctor Muro de la Fuente Interesting articles, always reporting on what's being done and accomplished is good for transparency and reduces ignorance, I congratulate you It's very important for the world to carry out work of this size let the population know about any natural occurrence but for this to happen scientists have to always be on alert and constantly working my regards to our armed force and a thousand blessings We haven't even bought a CANOE. We have abandoned our glorious armed forces completed, those loved by GENERAL JOSE FRANCISCO SAN MARTIN. But anyway, the truth coming upon us will be seen at some point it's being seen in FRANCE where extremists took over the COUNTRY. And soon if the WORLD doesn't stop it we will see the results very very soon for the good of this world which should be DEMOCRATIC and AT PEACE Very important article. We hope the scientists will cooperate successfully to save lives, I congratulate all the armed forces of the countries that participate this will allow them to be prepared for anything, success to everyone in this noble mission. It's good that the police along with the armed forces pick up all the gang members to allow the population to live more peacefully

Thanks to its participation in an international scientific initiative, the Chilean Military Geographical Institute (IGM) will soon help civilian authorities predict the imminent occurrence of natural disasters - such as volcanic eruptions and floods - with higher levels of accuracy.

That initiative, the Multinational Data Exchange Program (TREx), is a geodata program that will develop a Digital Land Surface Elevation Model, which will be 80 percent more accurate than models that currently exist anywhere. It will be the basis for developing cartography, simulation programs, and modeling for natural or anthropogenic phenomena that might occur in Chile or throughout the world. The effort is being led by the United States' National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and Germany’s Federal Office of Cartography and Geodesy (BKG), together with the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (Airbus Group).

“It will be tremendously useful to the country to have information this accurate and expansive,” said Army Maj. Lautaro Rivas Reveco, TREx's program coordinator at the IGM.

It will also be the first for the country: this is the first time that Chile has participated in a technological program that covers the entire world. IGM is the only Latin American institution invited to participate in the initiative, joined by Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, the U.S., Canada, Turkey, and Japan. Participating countries will have access to the information developed by TREx; in Chile's case, the data will be made available to the IGM, the Armed Forces, and government agencies.

“It is very relevant, so we want to be part of this project,” Maj. Rivas said. “The data on accuracy, distance, and parameters provided by this Digital Elevation Model are raw material for national cartography.”

Radar technology

The Digital Elevation Model developed by TREx will be based on information captured by two satellites owned by the Airbus Group – TerraSar-X (in orbit since 2007) and TanDEM-X (launched in 2010), which are in geostationary orbit. That data, interpreted by the TREx system, defines a three-dimensional model of the ground surface with 80 percent better resolution than other systems. Currently, the models in use were built in 2000, based on data provided by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), and developed by the NGA and the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

“This application will allow us to improve our performance as a country in urban planning, territory management, and marking borders,” Army Col. Rony Jara, IGM's director, told Chilean reporters in January 2014.

The primary applications of the Digital Elevation Model are:

Rapid cartography for responses and evaluations of natural disasters (flood, earthquakes, change detection);

Thematic cartography, which also uses radar data for analysis, planning, and oversight (urban atlas, precision agriculture).

It will also allow Chile to determine the lava flow from a volcano like Calbuco, located in Los Lagos, which erupted in April leading to the temporary evacuation of three neighboring communities. With TREx, analysts will be able to predict where the lava will go.

The technology will also allow authorities to identify areas susceptible to flooding during heavy rains, as happened in the northern region of Atacama in March, killing 26 people.

“Making the river’s behavior clear in a case like this defines at-risk areas for optimal urban planning, for example,” Maj. Rivas said.

International Convention

The first TREx program coordination meeting was held in September 2013, in Köln, Germany, during which a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was created, setting the administrative bases for executing the project for 10 years.

In 2014, the TREx meeting was held in the U.S, with a third meeting in Euskirchen, Germany in April 2015. The two latter meetings focused on coordinating political and licensing requirements, as well as drafting protocols for accessing the information. Participants also discussed operational aspects of work flow involving TREx and participating countries.

Between now and early 2016, an international convention will be signed by member states to put TREx into operation, Maj. Rivas said. For its part, IGM – with the consent of Chile's Ministry of Defense – will determine the personnel required, as well as the infrastructure and technology it will need.