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Using SAR Data to View Flooding Extent in Australia

Cherie Muleh

During a natural disaster, the ability to get a real-time view of affected areas is critical for a fast, accurate response and to begin the recovery process. For example, during a flooding event, it is important to be able to quickly visualize the impact of flooding on public infrastructure, critical facilities and to locate people for rescue efforts. Water levels and access points can change rapidly, making it imperative to have that real-time, or near real-time view.

Many organizations rely on satellite imagery to gain a bird’s eye view of an unfolding event. However, if flood waters need to be viewed at night or when there is cloud cover (often the case during storms that precipitate flooding events), satellite imagery is of no help since most sensors cannot capture data at night or through clouds.

The use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data has become increasingly popular for monitoring natural disasters due in large part to its ability to capture data at night and see through cloud cover, dust and smoke. SAR data can not only see where other sensors have blind spots, it can monitor millimeter-scale changes over broad areas and provide insights to fill in the blanks left by other sensors. Using ENVI® and SARscape®, flood analysis can be quickly accomplished so flood regions and areas of standing water can be identified, allowing decision makers to gather timely information and calculate flood extent to respond to and mitigate effects from floods.

SAR data used for flood analysis

Flood events are estimated to be the costliest natural disasters in Australia (Geoscience Australia). Dr. Dipak Paudyal, Managing Director of our exclusive distributor in Australia, APAC Geospatial, has written a blog post that looks at the process of obtaining Sentinel data and conducting a flood extent analysis in Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

Read through his blog post and see how Sentinel data, ENVI and ENVI SARscape can provide measurable information for your geospatial applications!

 

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