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High above Earth, satellites direct ground-breaking development work

20 August 2013

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When the World Bank first teamed up with the European Space Agency to demonstrate how Earth observation can work for international development, a small climate change adaptation project on the coast of North Africa produced the first big results.

High above Tunis, three orbiting ESA satellites sent down data pinpointing parts of the Tunisian capital where land was sinking, undermining the city's ability to withstand storms, earthquakes and extreme weather. "The results from the satellite data were stunning," said Sameh Wahba, manager of the Bank's Urban Development and Resilience unit, which spearheaded the program. "They were quick, cost-effective and technically sound. They gave us visually impressive products that easily communicated the magnitude of the problem to our counterparts in government. As a result, the government immediately incorporated smart risk mitigation policies into the city's adaptation and resilience plans."

In the five years since the eoworld collaboration began, the team has worked to demonstrate how this space-based technology can be applied throughout the Bank's work in developing countries. Offering highly specialised mapping and monitoring tools, the team has carried out demonstration projects in more than 20 countries across Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Source: The World Bank

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