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HONOLULU (East-West Wire, Jan. 5) - The Pacific Disaster Center on Maui has launched the Indian Ocean Tsunami Geospatial Information Service to support emergency managers responding to the tsunami disaster in South and Southeast Asia.

The new information service is part of the Center's Asia Pacific Natural Hazards Information Network (APHNIN, a resource for disaster managers to tap into high-quality data to reduce disaster risk and vulnerability in the region.

The new service will provide information specific to the tsunami that has claimed more than 100,000 lives.

Accurate information is indispensable during disaster response and recovery, Center officials say. This service will support emergency managers and relief agencies as they respond to the tragic event.

Specifically, the Indian Ocean Tsunami Geospatial Information Service will support emergency managers by providing geospatial information including baseline Landsat imagery, SRTM-derived shaded relief images, LANDSCAN-derived population density, detailed coastlines, damage polygons, and high-resolution imagery as it becomes available.

The Indian Ocean Tsunami Geospatial Information Service can be accessed by ESRI GIS applications at; Map Service name = "APNHIN_PDC_Tsunami_Response."

The Pacific Disaster Center provides applied information research and analysis for the development of more effective policies, institutions, programs, and information products for disaster-management and humanitarian assistance communities of the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Allen Clark, senior research fellow and executive director of the Pacific Disaster Center, said the Pacific Disaster Center takes scientific information and creates a disaster notification alert to all emergency managers in Hawaii and elsewhere.

"The real tragedy of all this is that the system is there, the technology is there, the capability is there, it just wasn't in place in the Indian Ocean when the thing hit," he said.

Charles E. Morrison, president of the East-West Center, said the East-West Center and the Pacific Disaster Center "stand prepared" to do what they can to enhance tsunami warning systems in the Indian Ocean.

Morrison said the two Centers might organize and host an international workshop for South and Southeast Asian countries to discuss a regional tsunami warning system. Participants could visit Honolulu tsunami facilities.

January 5, 2005

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