As space-based Earth observations are delivering a growing amount and variety of data, the potential of this information to better support disaster risk management is coming into increased scrutiny. Disaster risk management actions are commonly divided into the different steps of the disaster management cycle, which include: prevention, to minimize future losses; preparedness and crisis management, often focused on saving lives; and post-crisis management aiming at re-establishing services supporting human activities. Based on a literature review and examples of studies in the area of coastal, hydro-meteorological and geohazards, this review examines how space-based Earth observations have addressed the needs for information in the area of disaster risk management so far. We show that efforts have essentially focused on hazard assessments or supporting crisis management, whereas a number of needs still remain partly fulfilled for vulnerability and exposure mapping, as well as adaptation planning. A promising way forward to maximize the impact of Earth observations includes multi-risk approaches, which mutualize the collection of time-evolving vulnerability and exposure data across different hazards. Opportunities exist as programmes such as the Copernicus Sentinels are now delivering Earth observations of an unprecedented quality, quantity and repetitiveness, as well as initiatives from the disaster risk science communities such as the development of observatories. We argue that, as a complement to this, more systematic efforts to (1) build capacity and (2) evaluate where space-based Earth observations can support disaster risk management would be useful to maximize its societal benefits.
- Crisis management
- Disaster risk management
- Satellite remote sensing
- Space-based Earth observations