The Function of Satellite Images in Emergency Relief

Haiti – Emergency Aid from Space

The 2010 Haiti earthquake constituted one of the most devastating natural disasters since the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Numerous foreign aid workers and relief organisations have been on duty ever since. In order to predict the ramifications of the earthquake and to provide current and precise information (e.g. maps or GPS coordinates) for the aid workers, remote sensing data have proven to be extremely useful. In analysing the situation with the help of Google Earth, the pupils are able to map damages and to come up with suitable damage categories.

Time required
1 - 2 lessons
2: easy
Recommended Prior Knowledge



Caroline Kraas

Karsten Strätz


ascertainment of loss
change detection
natural hazards


The pupils ought to be able to determine and rate the damages caused by the earthquakes in Haiti.

The pupils have to identify differences between images on the basis of a visual comparison.

Damage will be mapped.

Own design proposals for the classification of damage categories can be suggested.

The basic functions of Google Earth will be applied.