DigitalGlobe’s response to the Typhoon Haiyan crisis leveraged the company’s entire spectrum of geospatial capabilities and platforms - more so than for any other natural disaster to date. Supported by DigitalGlobe’s U.S. Government customer, these products are temporarily licensed for unrestricted use for emergency response and humanitarian activities based on the extent of the damage and scale of the global response. The company continues to publish data and geospatial insight of the areas affected by the typhoon across an expanded list of web sites leveraging the DigitalGlobe Cloud Services Platform.
Charlie Loyd‏@vruba – “Nice to see companies releasing Haiyan imagery with humanitarian licenses … – and I hope this gets easier each time.”
By making the data available across various DigitalGlobe cloud-based services, we armed scores of different crisis response communities with accurate and up-to-date satellite imagery in a format they could immediately consume and from which informed decisions could quickly be made. DigitalGlobe’s decision to expand the availability of high-resolution satellite data and products to various disaster recovery communities allowed first responders to make faster, better decisions. In fact, in the first three days after Typhoon Haiyan hit, DigitalGlobe processed 195,000 requests for satellite images of the Philippines. Preparation for the event started days before Haiyan’s landfall. As the hurricane approached, DigitalGlobe provisioned “before” images, of the area most likely to be hit, and published them in FirstLook, our crisis response subscription service. Next, we overlaid our human geography data sets for the region with the predicted path of the typhoon to help anticipate the critical infrastructure (including hospitals, airports, bridges, roads, power plants) most vulnerable to the storm. We used the resulting geospatial insight to create tasking plans for our entire satellite constellation that prioritized image collection of areas where damage was anticipated. Our satellites executed the plans, and we immediately uploaded imagery to our Cloud Services platform to support our FirstLook subscribers and inform the public on the scale of the disaster. In the aftermath of the storm, we immediately activated a global crowdsourcing campaign, asking the public to identify information within the collected imagery that would immediately be helpful to first responders on the ground. Within about 24 hours, DigitalGlobe’s Tomnod platform collected 62,292 tags, 101,640 views, identified 7,598 damaged large buildings, 8,206 pieces of debris, 18,161 damaged residences, and 19,388 instances of major destruction. DigitalGlobe made the results of the crowd campaign available to the public and to our FirstLook subscribers within hours.‏@Crowdsourcing - DigitalGlobe Turns to the Crowd to Analyze Post-Typhoon Images #crowdsourcing #crowdsource Michael Davidson‏@MichaelXBD - Satellite image maker @DigitalGlobe is combining its pics with crowd's knowledge to aid Typhoon Haiyan relief work … Viejo Chuckles‏@ViejoChuckles – “El antes y después de Tacloban, Filipinas, la zona más afectada por el tifón Haiyan. Foto: Google/DigitalGlobe/AP" SSSI SA‏@SSSI_SA13 – “@DigitalGlobe is responding to Philippine tragedy with crowd sourcing which the Australian community can assist ~ …”

DigitalGlobe’s cloud based platform services are flexible and responsive to the challenging environment faced by emergency responders and humanitarian missions. By bringing together the full breadth of geospatial capabilities across our platform, we strive to make our geospatial information and insight products available to as many users as possible, to do the most good.


In support of Operation Damayan, the U.S. Government requested that DigitalGlobe imagery be temporarily released and licensed to the public for humanitarian purposes. In response to this request, we established special accounts on an expanded cloud services platform that enables access to Typhoon Haiyan-related imagery.
  • For the ArcGIS community, we have elected to provide the DigitalGlobe FirstLook Premium Service content as a Mosaic Image Service. These DG Premium Services (Pre and Post event) will be available to ArcGIS Online users and users of ArcGIS Desktop.
  • For the open source community, we have provisioned OGC services in a variety of formats.
  • For the traditional USG and NGO communities, we have published content to the “My DigitalGlobe” application that enables users to quickly and easily view and download imagery.
  • For the Humanitarian community, NGA provided imagery to the State Department, which then shared it with relief organizations like the Red Cross. Once the imagery was shared by State Department, Red Cross gained access within minutes and shared it with its 400 deployed relief workers. In addition, open-sourced crowdrank output was widely distributed so first responders could identify and support the areas of greatest need.
  • The Tomnod CrowdRank points were released to the public through the Creative Commons open source license to enable broad distribution.
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