MNCs and public space agencies have response systems in place for images in case of disasters like floods and fires. Iceye, which launched its first radar sat during 2018, stated that frequent demands pose challenges. Rafal Modrzewski, founder and CEO of Iceye stated that avalanches, landslides, fires, floods, and earthquakes happen every day. People request for imagery and Iceye tasks its satellites to provide it. However, it can’t charge for this service. Iceye stated that government ought to support companies so that they could continue providing geospatial data when disasters occur. Modrzewski stated that nobody planned for disasters and that Iceye had to provide information when disasters occurred. Iceye has provided its services several times, starting with the Anak Krakatau volcano collapse in December, which triggered a tsunami, killing many along Sumatra and Java coasts. Iceye’s satellites gathered this data upon requests from Indonesia’s government.
Along with Iceye, international sat operators and space agencies provided support as well. Worldview-2, GeoEye, TerrSAR-X and ADS’ Pleiades satellites also pitched in. After a dam in Brazil collapsed, Iceye received more requests as heavy clouds blocked electro-optical sat views. Radar Satellites collected data, via Iceye’s X2 satellites and provided the information before the dam’s collapse. This helped estimate extent of the damage suffered and was useful in measuring sediment movement. Brazil’s FP agency stated that this satellite info was invaluable for providing reliable monitoring in cases of adverse weather conditions.
After the dam collapsed, the CBERS-4, the Radarsat-2, Sentinel-2 sat and RapidEyesats were pressed into service for obtaining imagery. Planet’s customer, the GSA DLR’s EOC also provided its RapidEye images as the ISC was invoked. Emergency officials also had to rely on the 6.5m resolution images from MDA’s Radarasat-2. Iceye stated that it would continue to enhance its data collection and resolution, but that won’t be possible unless it could make a profit.