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Towards new applications of spaceborne technology on flood protection

Recently, in July 2021, destructive and deadly floods occurred in Western Europe. The estimated insured losses only in Germany could approach 5 billion Euros (AIR Worldwide, 2021). However, the total amount of the damage is currently not foreseeable due to the variety and complexity of the damage patterns and the unbelievable extent of the disaster. It seems the socio-economic losses will dramatically increase and break a new record in the insurance industry after evaluating the complete record of damages’ reports (see Figure 1).

European Space Agency’s “Water Scarcity” Kick-Start

The challenge

Water is one of the most important substances on Earth and covers 70% of the planet. However, freshwater makes up a very small fraction with 97% being saline and ocean-based. While the amount of freshwater on the planet has remained fairly constant over time, the world’s population has exploded, meaning that freshwater is threatened by significant forces, like overdevelopment, polluted runoff, and global warming. 

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H2O Geomatics Inc. Stakeholder

H2O Geomatics Inc.

H2O Geomatics is a research spin-off from the University of Waterloo. The company uses state-of-the-art remote sensing technologies to turn Earth Observation (EO) data into products and information tailored to meet end-user needs in various domains of application. H2O Geomatics is also conducting R & D activities on machine learning algorithms to handle big EO datasets as well as the development of environmental risk assessment tools for climate-dependent sectors such as agriculture and water resources management.

Services offered by the company include:

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an independent, international research institute with National Member Organizations in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Through its research programs and initiatives, the institute conducts policy-oriented research into issues that are too large or complex to be solved by a single country or academic discipline. This includes pressing concerns that affect the future of all of humanity, such as climate change, energy security, population aging, and sustainable development.

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