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News — 18 December, 2011

Cooperation between HOT and DigitalGlobe in Turkey


We almost forgot to report on our earthquake response in Turkey from this October.  Fortunately Suha Ulgen recently did an interview that reminded me that we really should highlight the coordination that occurred after this event.

Soon after the earthquake near Van, Turkey in October OpenStreetMap volunteers began mapping. Without new satellite imagery available this task was not going to be very effective.  Fortunately Suha Ulgen contacted put me in touch with Sean Lowery from DigitalGlobe.  There was a lot of imagery available for the area effected by the earthquake, just OpenStreetMap did not have access to it.  That is where DigitalGlobe's FirstLook service came in.

In support of the Turkish Earthquake response, DigitalGlobe donated access to its FirstLook product soon after the event.  The FirstLook service, was served online to OpenStreetMap editors through a WMS service.  DigitalGlobe describes the service as "The FirstLook product leverages DigitalGlobe's constellation of three very high resolution satellites to minimize any wait time for post event data.  FirstLook has delivered coverage of over 70 events of high public interest worldwide to date in 2011."Allow those volunteering for the response to see highly accurate and detailed both pre and post event satellite imagery.  The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team created areas of interest utilizing the Tasking Manager to direct people to areas where imagery was available and digitizing concentration was needed.

This was not the first time that DigitalGlobe has donated access to the FirstLook service in response to an event.  The first was after the tsunami in the Sendai area of Japan earlier this year. Without access to high resolution imagery OpenStreetMap would not be able to assist in response to these events.  Thanks DigitalGlobe for providing it in response to the October earthquake in Turkey and thank you to Suha for putting us together for this response.

To see fully how much data was added checkout this visualization from ITOWorld, depicting edits over the past 90 days.