Assisting flood disaster response with earth observation data and products: A critical assessment

Guy J.P. Schumann*, G. Robert Brakenridge, Albert J. Kettner, Rashid Kashif, Emily Niebuhr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Floods are among the top-ranking natural disasters in terms of annual cost in insured and uninsured losses. Since high-impact events often cover spatial scales that are beyond traditional regional monitoring operations, remote sensing, in particular from satellites, presents an attractive approach. Since the 1970s, there have been many studies in the scientific literature about mapping and monitoring of floods using data from various sensors onboard different satellites. The field has now matured and hence there is a general consensus among space agencies, numerous organizations, scientists, and end-users to strengthen the support that satellite missions can offer, particularly in assisting flood disaster response activities. This has stimulated more research in this area, and significant progress has been achieved in recent years in fostering our understanding of the ways in which remote sensing can support flood monitoring and assist emergency response activities. This paper reviews the products and services that currently exist to deliver actionable information about an ongoing flood disaster to emergency response operations. It also critically discusses requirements, challenges and perspectives for improving operational assistance during flood disaster using satellite remote sensing products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1230
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Flood disaster
  • Interoperability
  • Remote sensing
  • Response assistance

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