Rapid Mapping

What is it?

Operational since 2003, UNOSAT Rapid Mapping provides satellite image analysis during humanitarian emergencies, both natural disasters and conflict-situations. With a 24/7 year round availability to process requests, a team of experience analysts ensure timely delivery of satellite imagery derived maps, reports and data ready for direct inclusion in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) according to needs.

Typical situations for which UNOSAT Rapid Mapping is activated include floods, earthquakes, storms, landslides, volcanoes, oil spills, chemical waste, refugee and Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camp mapping, conflict damage assessment and situation analysis. UNOSAT benefits from a variety of sources for its satellite imagery: Free and open source, commercial vendors, International Charter Space and Major Disasters (natural and technological disasters only), in-kind donations.

The service is free of charge for UN sister agencies and humanitarian entities operating in line with UN policies.

Output products include maps, GIS-ready data (for example flood extents, damage assessments), statistics and reports.

How to request UNOSAT Rapid Mapping

  • No specific format is required for submitting requests, but the following information should be included:
    • Type (for example tropical storm, flood, earthquake, conflict)
    • Geographic area/location, ideally sent as KML file or latitude/longitude coordinates, however place names are also acceptable
    • Contact information UNOSAT can reach requestor at: name, function, e-mail, office phone and mobile phone
  • Submit requests via e-mail to emergencymapping@unosat.org immediately followed by a phone call to the 24/7 hotline +41 76 487 4998 to confirm submission to UNOSAT on-call officer. Requests can also be submitted to 24/7 hotline directly if no internet connection available for e-mail.

UNOSAT will request satellite imagery programming for area of interest, inform requestor of status and produce relevant Rapid Mapping products available for digital download.

See also the UNOSAT rapid mapping video on YouTube for examples and activation procedure.

Who can request?

  • UN offices and agencies
  • Government agencies
  • Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRC and IFRC)
  • International and regional organizations
  • Humanitarian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)