How can we use our ability to observe the Earth s natural systems to create a disaster-resilient society and what challenges and limits remain for Earth observations efforts? A variety of speakers from government and international organizations explored this question at the National Academies 9th Disasters Roundtable (DR) 2003 workshop, Hazards Watch: Reducing Disaster Losses through Improved Earth Observations. The workshop was designed to address the opportunity for reducing disaster losses by making the most of the technologies available through Earth observing systems that produce crucial information for policy makers and practitioners in the risk management community. Such systems, especially when they are integrated, are important tools for providing needed data and information for decision making and more effective disaster reduction and preparedness actions. Earth observing technologies have already helped improve the national warning system in the United States. A set of internationally integrated Earth observation systems promise similar advances in planning and warning efforts for all nations. International collaborative planning related to Earth observing systems is underway to chart a course of action for the next 10-20 years to help address major problems on the planet, including disaster vulnerability in developed and developing societies.
National Research Council. Hazards Watch: Reducing the Impacts of Disasters Through Improved Earth Observations -- Summary of a Workshop, October 22, 2003, Washington, DC. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2004.
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