Earth Observations for Disaster Risk Assessment & Resilience [Introductory]

Key Info
Description - a brief synopsis, abstract or summary of what the learning resource is about: 
According to a UN report, between 1998 and 2017, the U.S. alone lost $944.8 billion USD from disasters. Between 1878 and 2017, losses from extreme weather events rose by 251 percent. It is critical to developing disaster management strategies to reduce and mitigate disaster risks. A major factor in regional risk assessment is evaluating the vulnerability of lives and property to disasters. Environmental information about disasters, their spatial impact, and their temporal evolution can plan an important role as well.
This webinar series will focus on Earth observation (EO) data useful for disaster risk assessment. The series will cover disasters including tropical cyclones, flooding, wildfires, and heat stress. The training will also include access to socioeconomic and disaster damage data. Sessions 3 & 4 will cover case studies and operational applications of EO for disaster risk assessment.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this training, attendees will: 

  • learn about available NASA remote sensing and socioeconomic data and how to combine them for assessing risk
  • understand how to apply these data for assessing risk from floods and tropical cyclones in specific regions
  • learn how operational agencies are using NASA data for risk management

Course Format:

  • Four, two-hour parts that include lectures, demonstrations, and question and answer sessions
  • Both Session A & B will be broadcast in English
  • A certificate of completion will also be available to participants who attend all four parts and complete all homework assignments. Note: certificates of completion only indicate the attendee participated in all aspects of the training, they do not imply proficiency on the subject matter, nor should they be seen as a professional certification.


Part One: NASA Remote Sensing and Socioeconomic Data for Disaster Risk Assessment Attendees will learn basic concepts and definitions in disaster risk management. Attendees will also learn about the types of satellites and socioeconomic data available through NASA for disaster risk management.

Part Two: Assessing the Risk of Floods and Cyclones Using NASA Data Attendees will learn a methodology for analyzing remote sensing and socioeconomic data to assess flood and cyclone risk. Examples will be shown for an urban area (Houston, TX, USA) and a country (Mozambique). These case studies will use both historical and forecast data.

Part Three: Disaster Risk Assessment Case Studies Using Remote Sensing Data This will cover two case studies for using remote sensing data. One on how New York state is using NASA data for heatwave risk assessment, another on the freely available online tools from the World Resources Institute for visualizing NASA remote sensing and socioeconomic data.

Part Four: Operational Application of Remote Sensing for Disaster Management The Pacific Disaster Center will describe the data, applications, and strategies they use for disaster risk reduction, response, and relief operations.

Each part of 4 includes links to the recordings, presentation slides,  and Question & Answer Transcripts.

Authoring Person(s) Name: 
Amita Mehta
Sean McCartney
Authoring Organization(s) Name: 
NASA Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET)
License - link to legal statement specifying the copyright status of the learning resource: 
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic - CC BY 2.0
Access Cost: 
No fee
Primary language(s) in which the learning resource was originally published or made available: 
More info about
Keywords - short phrases describing what the learning resource is about: 
Climate data
Climate resilience
Climate risk assessment applications
Data analysis
Disaster applications
Earth observation data
Environmental change records
Environmental management
Remote sensing
Satellite imagery
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
User guides for Earth science data
Subject Discipline - subject domain(s) toward which the learning resource is targeted: 
Education: Science and Mathematics Education
Physical Sciences and Mathematics: Earth Sciences
Physical Sciences and Mathematics: Environmental Sciences
Published / Broadcast: 
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Publisher - organization credited with publishing or broadcasting the learning resource: 
NASA Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET)
Media Type - designation of the form in which the content of the learning resource is represented, e.g., moving image: 
Presentation - representation of the particular way in which an author shows, describes or explains one or more concepts, e.g., a set of Powerpoint slides.
Contact Person(s): 
Brock Blevins
Contact Organization(s): 
NASA Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET)
Educational Info
Purpose - primary educational reason for which the learning resource was created: 
Professional Development - increasing knowledge and capabilities related to managing the data produced, used or re-used, curated and/or archived.
Learning Resource Type - category of the learning resource from the point of view of a professional educator: 
Lesson - detailed description of an element of instruction in a course, [could be] contained in a unit of one or more lessons, and used by a teacher to guide class instruction. Example: presentation slides on a topic.
Target Audience - intended audience for which the learning resource was created: 
Citizen scientist
Data policymaker
Data professional
Early-career research scientist
Graduate student
Mid-career research scientist
Research scientist
Technology expert group
Undergraduate student
Intended time to complete - approximate amount of time the average student will take to complete the learning resource: 
More than 1 hour (but less than 1 day)