in Space

Satellite imagery helps fight locust plagues in North Africa

Posted 8 April 2013 · Add Comment

DMC International Imaging (DMCii) is helping The Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) to predict the spread of locust plagues across North Africa as part of a pro-active approach to tackle the destructive phenomenon using satellite imagery.

Every year, North Africa is subjected to locust plagues that threaten to decimate crops and endanger countries' food security. The satellite imagery is used to assess vegetation conditions, which helps to predict the locations of locust breeding grounds. The imagery, from the UK-DMC2 satellite, is used in conjunction with weather data to help create locust forecasts and focus the application of pesticides to prevent the spread of swarms.

Last year, in a six-month summer campaign to fight the spread of locusts, DMCii acquired monthly images of regions in Southern Algeria, Northern Mali and Northern Niger for ASAL. Now, imagery is being acquired before the summer season starts, to predict as well as monitor the threat of locusts.

Mr Karim Houari, international cooperation director of the Algerian Space Agency commented: "The use of satellite imagery has helped us in the past, during the invasion period, to identify and control areas at risk of locust swarms. This year, in terms of locust risk prediction in remission period, we used DMCii data for the ecological assessment of locust breeding areas (biotopes). It is an important contribution for the rationalisation of local response and to reduce damage of this destructive phenomenon."Ě

Paul Stephens, director of sales and marketing at DMCii, said: "The ability to get timely imagery of large areas is vital because locust swarms can develop quickly and travel about 100km a day. Our 650km wide images allow large areas of land, spanning multiple countries, to be rapidly monitored, helping the local authorities combat locust swarms before they can migrate across the continent."

DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) is a UK-based supplier of remote sensing data products and services for international Earth Observation (EO) markets. DMCii supplies programmed and archived optical satellite imagery provided by the multi-satellite Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC). DMCii's data is primarily used in a wide variety of commercial and government applications including agriculture, forestry and environmental mapping, which benefit from reliable high temporal resolution optical imagery.

In partnership with the UK Space Agency and the other DMC member nations (Algeria, China, Nigeria, Turkey and Spain), DMCii works with the International Charter ˜Space and Major Disasters to provide free satellite imagery for humanitarian use in the event of major international disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, fires and flooding.

DMCii was formed in October 2004 and is a subsidiary of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), the world leader in small satellite technology. SSTL designed and built the DMC with the support of the UK Space Agency and in conjunction with the other aforementioned DMC Consortium member nations.

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