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[infowar.de] U.S. spy satellites aid Katrina recovery
U.S. spy satellites aid Katrina recovery
Story last modified Thu Sep 01 05:33:00 PDT 2005
WASHINGTON--U.S. Spy satellites have been called into service to help
federal emergency officials cope with the devastating aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina, officials said Wednesday.
The little-known National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which analyzes
satellite images for the espionage community and combat troops, has
provided scores of images of hard-hit areas, including New Orleans, before
and after the storm struck.
The agency said one of its main aims is to survey damage to regional
transportation for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which can then
use the data to organize relief efforts. FEMA officials could not be
reached for comment.
"NGA can determine the overall damage to a transportation network
infrastructure--what bridges are out, what roads are flooded--which is
critical for FEMA getting relief supplies into the disaster area," said
NGA spokesman Stephen Honda.
The Pentagon agency, previously known as the National Imagery and Mapping
Agency, joined the hurricane effort on Friday when it gave FEMA 100
graphic images showing the location of hospitals, police stations,
highways, and schools in the storm's path along the Gulf coast.
After the storm, the agency gave FEMA its first cloud-free satellite image
of downtown New Orleans. The image was snapped by a commercial satellite.
NGA, which once concentrated wholly on overseas targets, has become more
involved in domestic security and relief efforts since the September 11,
2001, attacks on Washington and New York.
NGA analysis has aided security efforts at large public events including
the Super Bowl and the 2004 presidential conventions. Its satellite
imagery has also provided assistance to Asian tsunami relief efforts and
in fighting forest fires.
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