Christchurch Earthquake videos coming out

6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch New Zealand today, with some pretty heavy destruction. This was followed by a pair of 5.5 aftershocks. Thanks to the power of the Internet you can now “watch” the television coverage from New Zealand basically as it happens. This second video is raw footage. At minutes 2:53 and 5:42 you’ll see what happens when an aftershock rumbles the rubble. Pretty scary. ]]>

How satellites are being retasked to help the Haiti rescue mission.

[/caption]   I’ve taken a bit of a break from digital media blogging this week.  The jetlag from Vegas/CES and the fact the Haiti story is just so much more important than new TVs has led to me blogging about that disaster instead. One of the interesting things I’ve been reading about is the actual process by which satellites are being pulled into service (retasked) to assist in the rescue effort.  The BBC’s Space Reporter has an excellent piece about the efforts underway by the EU and other nations who are pulling in space resources to assist in the disaster.

Many space agencies have signed up to something called the International Charter [on] Space and Major Disasters. It was initiated back in 2000 by Esa, and the French (Cnes) and Canadian (CSA) space agencies; but then quickly acquired other signatories including important US bodies like Noaa and the US Geological Survey. The UK, too, is involved. It has a very particular contribution to make through the Guildford-based Disaster Monitoring Constellation company, which manages a six-strong fleet of optical and near-infrared imaging satellites that can – as a team – picture the entire Earth’s surface in one day. When the Charter is activated, the signatories re-task their satellites to get the data most urgently needed in a devastated region. The Charter was activated this week – of course it was.
  Be sure to take a look at all the pictures that have been not only generated, but also modified to show specific damage in neighborhoods, etc.   Geoeye, which works with Google, has also done some interesting ‘before and after’ type photos, matching up specific coordinates so people can see what things looked like before the earthquake and after.  By far the best use of this data is in today’s New York Times, which utilizes Flash to allow the user a house-by-house comparison of the two photos. MSNBC’s Cosmic blogger is also doing an interesting piece on satellites being retasked.  His story remarks about the worldwide collaboration that is going on:
GeoEye is by no means the only satellite operator on the case. A whole fleet of eyes in the sky are focusing on Haiti: DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-1 andQuickBird. France’s Spot-5, Japan’s ALOS, the European Space Agency’s ERS-2 and Envisat, and Canada’s RadarSat-2.
The MSNBC piece also talks about some of the volunteer efforts underway to establish communications systems in Haiti.  One such agency is TSF–Telecom San Frontiers  who deployed a recovery team to Haiti already. Looking over the devastation I’m reminded of my own seawall.  It’s 100 feet long and surrounded by large boulders.  Every year I say I’m going to pull back the boulders closer to the seawall (the curl of the wave pulls them toward the sea) and every year I end up not doing it.  It’s just too massive of an effort to accomplish on my own. And now I look at what is going on in Haiti.  This is going to be more massive than we can even comprehend at this point.  The fleet that we have sent is nowhere large enough, and the plane bridge will not be able to keep up with the demand.  This is going to get much much worse in the next weeks and months before it gets better.]]>

Tracking the Haiti rescue flights and radio traffic online

[/caption] For those who want to get some really specific details of what is going on in Haiti, you can turn to some web interfaces to some rather old school technology. Firstly, the Military Communications Bloggers are doing an amazing job tracking all the rescue traffic on the radios going in and out of Haiti.  MilComm bloggers often transcribe the radio traffic they hear, and as it is straight ‘from the horse’s mouth’ it’s also usually about 30-60 minutes ahead of the television reports.  For example, you can read this traffic from a monitoring station in Charleston South Carolina.  Rescue planes are on the ground, recovering the wounded, and the lights are on at the airport.

  • 1940Z 9007.0 CANFORCE 2343 p/p via TRENTON MILITARY to WING OPS. WING OPS passes 1345Z overhead damage assessment of Port-au-Prince. E/O imagery shows no structural damage to airfield or terminal. Electrical equipment not working. E/O imagery shows little to no damage to port facility. WING OPS estimates 10 aircraft en route with the same ETA. CANFORCE 2343 gets WX for Port-au-Prince, Homestead, Providenciales Airport, and Jags McCartney IAP
  • 2024Z 9007.0 CANFORCE 2343 p/p via TRENTON MILITARY to 613-XXX-XXXX for SITREP regarding deployment last night of 2 CH-146s from 430 Squadron at Cold Lake to Haiti. First 2 are yellow and follow on is green. Ground party needs SITREP for fuel and force protection needs
  • 2223Z 7527.0 CG 1501 (HC-130, CGAS Clearwater) p/p to D7 Miami Ops. Still on deck Port-au-Prince with 40+ PAX on board and still loading. They are bringing PAX in vans at 10-20 at a time. They also report 2 USAF C-130s on deck and a Lynden Air Cargo C-130. Runway lights are working
There are also some Ham Radio operators working Haiti, relaying communications between families in the US and in Haiti.  You can also listen to streaming radio stations from Haiti (though most are offline right now).  Some of the Ham Radio is being rebroadcast via Teamtalk online streams and other streaming media solutions. Flight tracking websites can show you the status of all aircraft inbound for Port Au Prince (MTPP) but this is based on the flight plans filed in the US, not necessarily the actual number of planes coming in from various countries. Haiti Internet Radio has a list of stations broadcasting, many of which are on backup connections and still on the air despite all that has happened. Finally, there are several sites that track “Where Are the Carriers“–daily updates of the location of our country’s aircraft carriers. UPDATE:  Google has published some interesting satellite photos of the destruction using the Geoeye/Google satellite.]]>