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Damage Maps for Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands

Damage Maps for Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, September 28, 2017/Categories: natural history, photography, space science, sustainability, art and design, environment

Hurricane Damage Map of Puerto Rico & VI's, San Juan in orange box (credit: NASA, JPL/Caltech, ESA Sentinel II)

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has jumped in to help Puerto Rico, with a population of over 3 million people, and the US Virgin Islands after Hurricane's Irma and Maria devastated these American territories in the Caribbean. Hurricane Maria was a Category 4 hurricane when it crossed Puerto Rico on Sept. 20th following, by barely a week, Hurricane Irma that destroyed the Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. John as a Category 5 storm. Using their powerful Earth monitering satellites, big data analysis, and image processing capabilites, JPL has produced a series of remote sensing maps for first responders and others for use in restoration of these islands. The first set of maps was released today.

According to the JPL, the Lab obtained before-and-after satellite radar imagery of areas of Eastern Puerto Rico to identify the areas that are the most likely damaged. The first imagery was acquired earlier this year on March 25, well before Maria, and then compared with images taken again on Sept. 21st, one day after the storm hit Puerto Rico. The radar instruments were carried the ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite operated by the European Space Agency in collaboration with NASA.

It's often said you always need a good map to know where you're going. The extreme detail provided by JPL will be put to immediate use in rescue and recovery efforts of these US islands. JPL's complete list of downloadable maps is here .

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