Saving lives from space

From Hurricane Katrina to the Japanese tsunami - satellite images are increasingly playing an important role during rescue efforts after natural or man-made disasters. The images, often taken minutes after devastation has occurred, help pinpoint people and places at risk.

A formal system of sharing information by space agencies was agreed in 1999, with the creation of the Disasters Charter. Since then, the charter has helped provide data for more than 300 disasters, in more than 100 countries.

Here - to mark World Space Week 2012 - Dr Alice Bunn from the UK Space Agency looks at how the images, taken many hundreds of miles above the planet, are being used to save lives.

To see the enhanced content on this page, you need to have JavaScript enabled and Adobe Flash installed.

All images copyright DMCii Ltd and Envisat/ESA. Click bottom right for image information.

Music by KPM Music. Slideshow by Paul Kerley. Publication date 8 October 2012.

Related:

Disasters Charter

UK Space Agency

World Space Week

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

More audio slideshows:

Cosmic rays - 100 years of discovery

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012

Wildlife watchers: beauty and brutality

What Britain used to look like from the air

More Science & Environment stories

RSS

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.