Workshop on the Use of Space Science and Technology for the Prevention of and Response to Disasters in Mesoamerica

Friday, December 6, 2013

Prevention Response To Disasters In Mesoamerica


November 19th-22nd, Secure World Foundation (SWF) participated in a workshop focused on how to make better use of Earth observations data and software to mitigate and respond to destructive flooding held in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico. Widespread flooding often serves as a deadly reminder of hurricanes and tropical storms that strike Mesoamerica, long after their destructive winds have abated and moved on. The workshop was hosted by the Mesoamerican Center for Theoretical Physics (MCTP) on the campus of the Autonomous University of Chiapas in the capital of the State of Chiapas, and other participants included the Regional Centre for Space Science Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (CRECTEALC), the Association of Institutions for Fostering Mexican Space Sciences (AIFOCEM), the Mexican National Institute for Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE), the National Institute for Space Research of Brazil (INPE), the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC ) and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), co-chairs of the CEOS Working Group on Capacity Building and Data Democracy (WGCapD), and the Group on Earth Observation (GEO).

The four-day workshop especially emphasized the availability of free data sources, free, open-source software, and sources of free online and in-situ training courses. An emphasis on affordability is especially important to financially-stressed Mesoamerican countries. The 35 participants offered more than 20 presentations on different disaster-related technologies, and sources of free or low-cost data and software. Policies on data distribution and use and the employment of social media in crowdsourcing and community remote sensing methodologies were also presented. Further, the Director General of the Chiapas Institute of Civil Protection made a presentation on the Chiapas integrated strategy.

This was a particularly timely workshop because the government of Chiapas has just instituted an integrated risk management plan so many of the techniques presented can be put to use by civil protection authorities. Participants agreed that this workshop should be repeated in another part of Mesoamerica in the near future. Presentations can be accessed on the MTCP website.

Event Materials

Last updated on December 26, 2013