PORTSMOUTH, N.H., 4 May 2006. Global Relief Technologies (GRT) is teaming with GeoEye Inc., a commercial provider of satellite imagery, and Telenor Satellite Services to deliver satellite imagery to emergency relief workers operating in remote areas around the world.
The initiative to bring this technology to humanitarian and relief workers is being championed by former Air Force General and founding director of the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI or "Star Wars"), James Abrahamson, a member of the Global Relief Technologies Board of Directors.
"Humanitarian and emergency response organizations' demand for satellite imagery has persisted from one crisis to another," Abrahamson says. "Facilitating the delivery of map-accurate satellite imagery is of critical importance to emergency workers because it provides a common operating picture that is invaluable to relief operations -- and to those running them."
For years, emergency workers and international relief organizations have requested timely satellite imagery of areas in which they are operating. Gray noted that when NATO forces moved into Kosovo in 1999 to provide security and relief to Kosovar Albanians, relief workers lined up outside a small trailer to get a glimpse of imagery provided by the U.S. government of areas destroyed by conflict. The imagery available in that case was viewable on a single light-table and for only one individual at a time.
Abrahamson believes that recent events including the privatization of government satellite communications and imagery services coupled with significant advances in the technology have now put timely satellite imagery within the reach of humanitarian and relief organizations.
"Working with GRT, we can now obtain imagery rapidly, and in some cases within just a few hours," says Abrahamson. "Then process the data in a way that it can be transmitted by cellular, internet or satellite communications to the internet, desktop and laptop computers and even hand-held PDAs."