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Space observation to assist risk management in the Alps

Satellites are to be used in a bid to improve the risk management of landslides, avalanches, mudslides and floods in Alpine regions. This is the objective of the latest ASSIST (Alpine Safety, Security and Informational Services and Technologies) research project, which is currently being launched as part of the European "Global Monitoring for Environment and Security" (GMES) initiative.
The seven project partners from Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland are collaborating on the development and testing of generally applicable approaches for generating and networking data on risk prediction and risk management. While the project is focused on the Alps, the results are to be easily extended to other mountainous regions. In the EU alone mountainous regions account for around 30 per cent of the total territory and are home to some 30 million citizens.
The project will combine satellite-based observation data with existing aerial photographs and meteorological data to establish and further develop integrated safety and information systems for the Alps. For the actual risk management the project will establish 'service nodes' such as police stations, hospitals, fire fighters, and air and mountain rescue. These autonomous centres will be able to call up raw data (e.g. from satellite observation) and process it for day-to-day risk prediction and risk management; they will also co-operate closely with other comparable centres.
The European Commission is supporting ASSIST with €1.1 million under the Aeronautics and Space priority. Its purpose is twofold: to increase safety in mountainous regions and to make the European GMES industry more competitive.
Sources and information: http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction (de/fr/en); http://dbs.cordis.lu/fep-cgi (de/fr/it/en)