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Workshop looks at satellites

Carol-Ann Tudor

Workshop looks at satellites

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Barbados is hoping to get maximum benefits out of a space-based data technology pilot project, which is geared at assisting in disaster risk management in the region.
Nearly 20 representatives from various agencies across the country joined Canadian geotechnologists yesterday at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) headquarters in Warrens, as they sought to enlighten personnel on how the Caribbean Satellite Disaster Pilot could benefit the country.
Already the Canadian Space Agency project is in operation in four other Caribbean countries and geoscientist with Aerde Environmental Research, Dirk Werle, said the regional programme had been collecting satellite images before and after the impact of hurricanes.
Werle, one of three facilitators of the two-day Caribbean Satellite Disaster Pilot workshop, showed various satellite images that were taken of Jamaica and St Lucia during the last hurricane season while seeking to explain how the Radarsat and other high-resolution satellites worked.
Deputy director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU), Dr Lorna Inniss, said the programme would enable Barbados to access the “high quality space data” and bring satellite images to the Caribbean region, which should help make a significant contribution to how decisions were made.
One of the things that the partnership allows for is satellite imagery to be used in flood hazard mapping and initial damage assessments.
Inniss said she was happy that representatives of the CZMU, Town Planning, Barbados Water Authority, the Meteorological Office, Land and Surveys and more had attended, as they were some of the key factors in disaster management.
Acting deputy director of the DEM, Robert Harewood, said the project was one of the many innovative projects beingunveiled to assist in disaster risk management in the region.
Harewood said with 62 per cent of the population in Barbados living within 2 kilometres of the coastline and the majority of the commercial and tourism plant located below the first coral terrace, the country was extremely vulnerable to coastal hazards and disasters.