Operational since 2003, the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) Emergency Mapping service provides satellite image analysis during humanitarian emergencies related to disasters, complex emergencies and conflict situations. With a 24/7 year round availability to process requests, a team of experience analysts ensure timely delivery of satellite imagery derived maps, reports and data ready for direct inclusion in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) according to needs, free of charge for UN agencies and humanitarian entities operating in line with UN policies. Typical situations for which UNOSAT Rapid Mapping is activated include floods, earthquakes, storms, landslides, volcanoes, oil spills, chemical waste, refugee and Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camp mapping, conflict damage assessment and situation analysis.
UNOSAT also supports UN agencies and other International Organizations in investigations, fact finding missions, courts, and emergency responders concerned with violations of international humanitarian law by analyzing satellite imagery and other relevant data that can help inform the investigation. This has included reporting on destruction to housing in cities, towns, and rural areas, position and disposition of weaponry and forces, graves, detention facilities, cultural heritage sites, and much more.
UNOSAT benefits from a variety of sources for its satellite imagery: free and open source, commercial vendors, International Charter Space and Major Disasters (natural and technological disasters only), in-kind donations.