Tue. Sep 26th, 2023
Optimizing the Swiss Civil Protection System through Satellite Imagery Access

The Swiss civil protection system is facing challenges due to increasing natural hazards and complex emergencies. In order to effectively reduce disaster risks and save lives, it is crucial for Switzerland to have access to satellite imagery. Satellite imagery has proven to be crucial in disaster management, assisting in preparedness, response, and recovery efforts, as well as enhancing the protection of populations against hazards.

Although Switzerland has the Swiss Rapid Mapping Service (RMS), its lack of a national Earth Observation program hinders its ability to fully utilize satellite imagery for disaster risk reduction. The RMS utilizes satellite imagery to document damage caused by natural hazards after an event. However, without its own Earth Observation satellites, Switzerland faces limitations in using satellite imagery for disaster management.

One potential solution to this challenge is for Switzerland to join the EU’s Copernicus program. By engaging with initiatives like Copernicus, Swiss authorities could secure swift and reliable access to satellite data. However, effective use of this data would require training, institutional awareness, and integration throughout all phases of crisis management.

Satellite imagery has been widely used across various industries and sectors, but its application in disaster response and crisis management is particularly significant. For Switzerland, fully leveraging the RMS throughout the disaster management cycle, rather than only after disasters have occurred, is crucial. This approach would prioritize training and testing of the RMS during minor emergencies, as well as strengthening institutional engagement, especially at the cantonal level.

In conclusion, optimizing the Swiss civil protection system through satellite imagery access is essential in the face of increasing natural hazards and complex emergencies. Switzerland can benefit from joining the Copernicus program to ensure swift and reliable access to satellite data. By fully integrating satellite imagery throughout the disaster management cycle and prioritizing training and institutional engagement, Switzerland can enhance its emergency response strategies and effectively reduce disaster risks.