13 April 2012, Geneva, Switzerland - The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) reached another milestone today as the second generation of its Satellite Mapping Coordination System (SMCS) was officially launched.

GDACS website

GDACS is a cooperation framework for natural disaster alerts operating under the umbrella of the United Nations. It includes disaster managers and disaster information systems worldwide and aims at coordination information and filling gaps in the first phases after a major disaster. To so this, GDACS provides real-time access to web-based disaster information systems and useful coordination tools.

The Satellite Mapping Coordination System, or SMCS, of GDACS is a tool for GIS-experts working with satellite imagery for specific events. It allows experts to see which images are collected where and which entity is working on what type of analysis. This facilitates a horizontal coordination links as opposed to time consuming top-down models and effectively reduces duplication of efforts and the pushing of low value maps to the use community. In addition to being an operational coordination tool for satellite image analysis professionals, SMCS is also a metadata archive for past events, and a discussion forum.

GDACS SMCS has been developed by UNOSAT in consultation with the GDACS community of users and responders, and various GIS-experts. “The increased interest in the SMCS over the last years clearly points to the need, as well as the will, to ensure improved coordination among satellite mapping entities. This second generation of the SMCS integrates the excellent feedback from many users and stakeholders, for which we are most grateful”, said Einar Bjorgo of UNOSAT.

The SMCS is the agreed platform for coordinating satellite imagery mapping for the benefit of GDACS stakeholders and the wider community, including affected countries, early responders, NGOs, international organizations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent family and the United Nations. Currently, the GDACS Steering Committee is Chaired by the European Commission Monitoring and Information Centre in DG Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection.