UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme - UNOSAT


UNOSAT is a technology-intensive programme delivering satellite imagery analysis, aerial photos and related solutions to relief and development organisations within and outside the UN system to help make a difference in critical areas such as humanitarian relief, human security, early recovery, strategic territorial and development planning. UNOSAT develops applied research solutions keeping in sight the needs of the beneficiaries at the end of the process. Our goal is to make satellite solutions and geographic information easily accessible to the UN family and to experts worldwide who work at reducing the impact of crises and disasters and help nations plan for sustainable development. The UNOSAT core team consists of satellite imagery analysts and GIS experts supported by IT and database engineers as well as UN field workers and expert trainers. This unique combination gives us the ability to understand the needs of our users and to provide them with suitable, tailored solutions anywhere at any time. UNOSAT created an extended network of public and private partners, and collaborates with the majority of UN agencies, space agencies and several international initiatives active in satellite technology geospatial information. Our strategic partnership with CERN, where UNOSAT production centre is located, gives the Programme edge computing capability and virtually unlimited storage capacity.

How does UNOSAT support Early Recovery?

Geographic Information Systems and satellite imagery are a unique combination to support Early Recovery. By collecting data and doing image analysis during the emergency phase, then store this in GIS databases, UNOSAT is able to bridge the information gap when going from relief to development. This gap is filled in the Early Recovery phase. Priority areas for early recovery activities are selected from an evidence based approach using the stored data and information from the emergency phase Then further monitoring can take place to follow recovery programmes and activities in their early stages to ensure progress and contribute to coordinating implementation. Through these means, Early Recovery can be included from the very onset following an event as GIS data, maps and reports become available within days following a disaster. Early Recovery planning can therefore start early on and thus ensure a faster and more relevant effort as it is based on accurate information derived from objective sources.