The Canadian Space Agency's Rapid Information Products And Sservices (RIPS) Iinitiative
AUBÉ, GUY1; Werle, Dirk2; Seguin, Guy1; Arsenault, Eric1; Yann, Denis1
1Canadian Space Agency, CANADA; 2Aerde Environmental Research, CANADA

Reducing loss of life and property from natural and human-induced disasters a priority of domestic and international disaster and emergency management organizations. Disaster management and mitigation are often linked to emergency situations that require quick response. Time-critical geo-spatial information, including up-to-date satellite image maps, GIS layers and animations, is urgently needed by the authorities as part of their response capabilities. Canadian Earth observation systems have been used for more than a decade to assist in disaster management situations. The Canadian RADARSAT system has a proven performance record regarding data acquisition planning, tasking and fast delivery of image products for disaster events around the world. Canada has contributed regularly to international efforts, including Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and the Group of Earth Observations (GEO). Yet, the rapid assembly and distribution of geospatial products including or derived from RADARSAT and other EO data is much less practiced. Experience has been gained during activations of the International Charter – Space and Major Disasters, the Disaster Watch Program. More recent efforts focused on the CEOS Caribbean Satellite Disaster Pilot (CSDP), the Namibia Flood Pilot and collaboration with international organization with a strong presence in Central and South America (e.g. World Bank, CATHALAC, etc.). The EO-based products demonstrate the capabilities of EO sensors and give space agencies public visibility. APPROACH AND METHOD Canada has identified disaster management as one of three key applications for the planned RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM). With the increase in demand and the growing public and media awareness of Earth Observation (EO) the Canadian Space Agency’s Earth Observation Applications and Utilizations (EOAU) Division is relying on fast-response RADARSAT and other EO data acquisition capabilities for the rapid development and dissemination of high-quality EO-based products. Target groups for such products include authorities in the field of emergency response, the media, as well as planners, policy makers, and practitioners in disaster management, both domestically and internationally. EOAU has implemented the Rapid Information Products and Services (RIPS) initiative to demonstrate and strengthen the delivery chain from satellite data request to the rapid delivery of specific EO information products to the user. The main goal of RIPS is to raise user awareness and acceptance of EO-derived geospatial products and services for disaster response and to affirm confidence in Canadian capabilities. RIPS include 'preemptive' data acquisition planning, systematic administrative procedures, as well as standardized EO products. Following the lead of CEOS, there are several thematic fields of EO disaster applications and potential CSA responses with practical demonstrations of rapid EO image processing services; they include earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, ice, landslides, oil spills, volcanic events. The RIPS initiative involves Canadian industry in supporting CSA and other Canadian government departments and agencies in the generation of timely EO satellite data related disaster products and services. Further aspects of CSA’s RIPS initiative include the following: meeting international commitments; addressing the full disaster cycle (i.e. mitigation and prevention, preparedness, prediction and early warnings, impact assessment, response, recovery, reconstruction); and direct industry involvement with the EO user community. CONCLUSION The paper presents early examples of RIPS activations and related EO contributions at different stages of disaster and crisis management: (1) before the crisis, e.g. provision of rapid information products and services needed to protect the populations and goods; (2) during the crisis, e.g. provision of rapid information products and services that support geospatial data requirements and the decision making process for managing the crisis; and (3) after a crisis, e.g. provision of information products and services needed for damage estimation and disaster preparedness.