Coastal land Bay Bengal

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world – almost three times as dense as India. Naturally, land is an invaluable, limited resource and a productive asset which provides not only habitat but also sustenance and livelihoods.

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The Karnali River

Every monsoon, the meandering Karnali River swells, erodes rivers banks, and carries away arable soil as it hurtles downstream. And every year, for all its nourishing powers, the Karnali can spell doom for riverine communities.

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Satellites provide a synoptic overview of our world. This overview is particularly useful in understanding our environments better. However, satellite data is voluminous; processing them for desired outcomes requires skilled users and high computational and storage capacity. Furthermore, optical satellite remote sensing requires cloudless, well-illuminated areas for quality data.

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Women are the primary custodians of natural resources in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and are at the forefront of the impacts of climate change.

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Data has become a key driver of growth and change in today’s world. There is growing recognition that data is indispensable for effective planning and decision making in every sector. But the state of digital data in developing countries is far from satisfactory.

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After successfully conducting the empowering women in geospatial information technology (GIT) training in Nepal, we rolled out the virtual training exclusively for women professionals in Pakistan in mid-July 2020.

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Each monsoon brings both joy and misery to Nepal. As agriculture is primarily rain-fed in Nepal, monsoon rain is a real godsend, nourishing farmlands and securing livelihoods for many farmers. However, the same monsoon rain – increasingly intense and erratic – also triggers different kinds of disasters.

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Our SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) Initiative has been extended for a five-year period following the signing of a public international organization agreement with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

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The monsoon floods in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region are worsening the humanitarian crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Cyclone Amphan in Bangladesh and India. Millions of people have been affected in Nepal, India (Bihar and Assam), and Bangladesh. The crisis is far from over, with more monsoon rain forecast in the coming days and weeks.

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Twenty-five women from across Nepal and Australia joined in on morning conference calls for four days in May 2020 with a singular focus: to expand knowledge and skills in geospatial information technology (GIT).

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Cyclone Amphan made landfall in Bangladesh and East India on 20 May 2020. The massive tropical cyclone resulted in the loss of at least 96 lives and caused extensive damage to infrastructure.

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As an intergovernmental knowledge development and learning centre for the eight Regional Member Countries in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, ICIMOD is committed to building the capacity of relevant national agencies in the provisioning of flood risk information and early warning systems for building resilience and effective response.

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When my supervisor asked me if I wanted to work on a project that would require me to travel frequently to Afghanistan, my answer was a reluctant “yes”. References to the war in Afghanistan – in the papers and on television – raced through my mind. This was four years ago.

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Attending the American Geophysical Union (AGU) is a huge opportunity for a geospatialscientist. The annual AGU Fall Meeting is the largest international Earth and space sciencemeeting where we can learn about new technology and build professional networks.

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The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region is no stranger to water- and weather-induced hazards. Every year, these disasters result in loss of lives, livelihoods, and damage to infrastructure throughout HKH countries. Climate change and other drivers of change have increased the frequency and magnitude at which disasters such as floods, droughts, landslides, and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) take place in the region, further exacerbating vulnerabilities among mountain people and downstream environments and infrastructure. 

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After Afghanistan, Nepal, and Pakistan, the Regional Drought Monitoring and Outlook System for South Asia extends its coverage to Bangladesh.

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The floods in Bangladesh are possibly the worst in recent years. In Bangladesh, the Jamuna River broke through an embankment on the night of 17 July 2019, inundating at least 40 villages and displacing more than 200,000 peoples.

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New paradigms in Earth observation (EO) science and advancements in geospatial information technology (GIT)–enhanced by the omnipresence of the internet–have allowed us to better understand our environment and quantify impacts caused by natural world phenomena.

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The Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) analyzes and uses land cover data for the national forest inventory, estimation of forest reference emission levels, and other forest management purposes.

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Bangladesh’s vulnerability to floods persists even after the devastating 2017 floods, which took a heavy toll on the nation’s people and infrastructure. Climate change-driven calamities put the lives of millions in the country at risk, as pointed out in a 2019 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report.

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Earth observation (EO) technologies have tremendous potential in supporting the implementation of long-term and large-scale research and development programmes focused on resolving data and information gaps related to agriculture in developing countries.

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Agricultural and hydrological drought monitoring and early warning systems; drought impacts and climate risk financing; land use practice and policies; and crop mapping and yield estimation are key areas related to agriculture and climate services. These and the emerging potential of Earth observation information and climate modelling in reducing climate related vulnerabilities in the agriculture sector in South and Southeast Asia were discussed at a forum held in Kathmandu recently. The Regional Knowledge Forum on Drought was held at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development Centre (ICIMOD) from 8–10 October.

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SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR–HKH) initiative at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is currently developing a number of applications on GEE, which are being used by scientists, researchers, governments, and non-profits to quantify environmental changes.

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Forests play a vital role in combating climate change and mitigating its effects. In Nepal, they are a source of livelihood for the country’s growing population. With impacts on forests growing due to climate change, forest degradation, and deforestation…

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Miss Tech Nepal is an annual national competition designed by women to engage women in technology.

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The American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting is the largest earth and space science meeting that brings together science communities from across the globe in the pursuit of high quality science and knowledge, working to ensure a sustainable future.

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) recently launched a new online Food Security Information System to map and visualize patterns of food security, poverty and malnutrition in Nepal.

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Floods are a common and often major disaster event in the Hindu Kush Himalaya during the monsoon season. The advent of the monsoon in June and over the next three months brings with it floods and landslides in the region. The Daily Star in Bangladesh reports that 20 districts in Bangladesh have been flooded, with an additional nine in danger of inundation.

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The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) hosted a meeting to facilitate the implementation of the Himalayan Global Earth Observation System of Systems (Himalayan GEOSS) at its headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal in August 2017.

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The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) organized a day-long consultation and user engagement workshop on collaborative development of agricultural drought monitoring services in Bangladesh on 17 August 2017. The event took place at the BARC campus in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The workshop was organized under the USAID-funded SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) initiative and the Climate Services for Resilient Development (CSRD) in South Asia partnership. 

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Floods are a major disaster in the Hindu Kush Himalaya during monsoon season. Timely and accurate mapping of floods is important for efficient and effective management of relief activities. It can help reduce loss and damage due to floods.

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The current and future impact of climate change on water availability in the Hindu Kush Himalaya is a great concern, and is important to understand for better planning of water resources. Hydrological models provide insight into different parts…

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Thirty-eight participants—13 of them women—from Nepal and Kenya, convened for a four-day training workshop on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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A delegation of staff from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) represented SERVIR-Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) at a four-day service planning exchange hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, from 24 to 27 April 2017.

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The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), home to SERVIR-Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) in Nepal, and Mercy Corps Nepal hosted the Space Apps Challenge in Kathmandu from 29 to 30 April 2017.

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A regional workshop on ‘SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) impact pathway, partnership and communication strategy’ was held 11-15 July 2016 in Kathmandu.

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The SERVIR-Himalaya (http://www.icimod.org/servir-himalaya) was established in October 2010 as a joint initiative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and ICIMOD and is one of the four hubs of global SERVIR (http://www.servirglobal.net) program.

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Different stakeholders working in forest and biodiversity in Nepal met at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) 28 June 2016 to discuss needs for vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning for forest ecosystems in Nepal.

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A one day Country Consultation workshop on SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya Needs Assessment was jointly organised with Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) at its headquarters in Islamabad on 23 February 2016.

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A national consultation workshop on a needs assessments for SERVIR-HKH was organized in Kabul from 14–15 December 2015 by ICIMOD in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) Afghanistan and with the support of USAID.

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Early in the evening on 28 June 2015, Lemthang Tsho (Memari) Lake filled beyond capacity and burst over its embankment creating a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF). This incident caused minimal damage downstream but other GLOFs can be catastrophic.

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The Institute of Water Modeling (IWM) in Bangladesh has developed a cost-effective information system that provides 8-day flood forecasting. The system provides near real-time information through web GIS…

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This research study developed methodologies for forest AGB estimation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region using optical high-resolution (WorldView, GeoEye) and SAR (ALOS-1/2 PALSAR) remote-sensing data coupled with field measurements…

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Abdur Rahim, a victim from the Lebubagan area, described the landslide of 2007: “It rained continuously for a week and then, one morning, the hills fell apart in quick succession from three sides…

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The Digital Agriculture Atlas of Nepal takes data closer to decision makers by providing a one-stop shop for information related to food security. The digital atlas jointly developed by Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)…

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Over the years, the approach to natural disasters has changed from response and relief to risk reduction, with policy focusing more and more on building resilience and increasing preparedness among communities living in hazard prone areas…

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The training was conducted by ICIMOD experts and covered science applications developed to promote access to high quality, user-tailored tools and information services that are focused on ICIMOD’s thematic areas: agricultural monitoring, land cover and biomass, forest fire detection, and disaster management…

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Across the Hindu Kush Himalayas, forest fires are devastating to local communities and ecosystems, and are a huge challenge for forest managers. The first challenge to stopping forest fires is getting accurate and timely information, including…

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The results of the project were discussed with stakeholders from Nepal’s Ministry of Agricultural Development and Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, research institutes, non-governmental organizations, and farmers’ representatives during a consultation workshop on ’Present Status and Future Prospects of Agroforestry…

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The small grant and small scale application programmes were started in July 2014 with the aim to expand the network of organizations, universities, and institutions in the HKH region to improve capacity in evidence-based decision making…

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Forest fires are a major challenge in Nepal, where large patches of forest are lost each year as a result of fire incidents. In recent years, the number of forest fire incidents has risen, further contributing…

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ICIMOD and Kathmandu University, Nepal, launched ‘Disaster Reporting’, an android application that enables users to report disaster events along with essential information, such as impact and immediate relief requirements.

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The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) will be collaborating with the World Resources Institute (WRI) through its Global Forest Watch (GFW) initiative to develop a periodic forest cover monitoring system and to identify forest change prone areas that need critical management attention.

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The SERVIR-Himalaya Initiative of ICIMOD, in collaboration with the Department of Forests (DoF) of Nepal, carried out field level awareness campaign in the most fire prone districts of Nepal.

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More than 30 community members from Khayar Khola watershed in Chitwan district, Nepal were trained in the use of satellite imagery for community forest monitoring on 20 March 2015.

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The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) hosted the SERVIR Hub Exchange Programme from 10–13 March 2015. During the week long programme, participants discussed and shared experiences in cloud-based automated flood mapping.

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With the increasing frequency of natural disaster events across the globe, the role of space technology has now become integral in disaster risk management and in reducing the impact on lives and properties by providing timely information

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A delegation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) visited ICIMOD to discuss current and prospective areas for collaboration with ICIMOD. ICIMOD is implementing the Himalaya hub of SERVIR, a joint programme of NASA and USAID.

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The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) successfully concluded a two-day midterm knowledge-sharing workshop on SERVIR-Himalaya Small Grants Programme in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development ICIMOD participated in a day-long consultation meeting with forest managers in Nepal on 19 November. The objective of the workshop was to gather feedback on effective use of the information system for fire management during the upcoming fire season.

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A three-day advanced training on remote sensing (RS) techniques ended on 7 November 2014. Participants learned about specific remote sensing techniques applicable to crop monitoring and drought early warning system.

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Her Majesty Jetsuen Pema Wangchuck, Queen of Bhutan, launched the National Geospatial Portal during the Bhutan GIS Expo in Thimphu on 13 October 2014. The National Geospatial Portal will serve as a gateway for users across Bhutan…

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Scientists from the region and the United State of America gathered at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) headquarter in Kathmandu, Nepal, to discuss major transition activities and the causes of Land Cover and Land Use Change (LCLUC) in South and South East Asia.

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Kezang Gaden and Tenzin have made their college proud by winning the Best Student Presenter award and first runner-up prize, respectively, during the second Annual Research Symposium and Environmental Fair organized by the Bhutan Ecological Society on 23 August.

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The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) received the ‘Special Achievement in Geographical Information System (GIS)’ award at the 2014 Esri User Conference. The award recognizes ICIMOD’s contribution in integrating geographical information into the policy making process in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region.

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After 10 months of research and fieldwork, four students from Nepal, Bhutan, and India, whose projects had been selected for the prestigious global environmental fellowship programme known as My Community, Our Earth (MyCOE), showcased their work at the MyCOE SERVIR Capstone event in the United States.

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From 9 to 13 June, disaster management officials from across the Hindu Kush Himalayan region attended training on multi-level flood risk mapping jointly organized by…

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A MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) receiver and acquisition system installed on the premises of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is feeding key environmental data to ICIMOD’s regional member countries.

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A group of Geomatics students from Kathmandu University have developed an android application that could go a long way in keeping the city clean. The app was developed during the recent SpaceApps Challenge held in Kathmandu on 13 April.

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A week-long workshop was conducted by the DAI based Demand team for SERVIR in Bethesda, Maryland, from 24–28 March 2014. The workshop, which was held in Washington, DC, was attended by SERVIR-Himalaya team members…

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Dr Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), visited the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) on 25 February 2014 to discuss the role of science and technology in development and…

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Twenty development outreach and communications specialists of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) visited the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) headquarters in Kathmandu on 4 March 2014.

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A SERVIR-Himalaya Youth forum titled ‘Empowering Youth with Earth Observation Information for Climate Actions in Nepal’ was held at Asian Institute of Technology and Management (AITM) from 16 to 20 December 2013.

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In a bid to build capacity on satellite remote sensing applications for water resources management, a five-day workshop was organized for participants from the ICIMOD regional member countries in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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With an aim to help growing the network of organizations, universities and institutions within the Hindu Kush Himalaya region that utilize geospatial tools and services to improve decision-making related to sustainable mountain development …

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Talking to a group of professionals and diplomats at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) headquarters in Kathmandu, NASA’s Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Dr John M Grunsfeld said the environment is definitely changing.

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Climate change in Bhutan is manifesting itself in the formation of dangerous glacial lakes and the increased occurrence of landslides, floods, pests, and diseases, among others. As serious consequences of climate change are felt in Bhutan, climate science is becoming part of the curriculum in the institutes of higher learning.

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Professionals from Bhutan’s Snow and Glacier Division of Department of Hydro-met Services (DHMS) are now collaborating with and learning from ICIMOD’s expertise in hydrology.

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SERVIR’s partnership, tools, products, and services and how they are being used in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region were the subject of a panel discussion at a recent forum in Washington, D.C.

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Director General of ICIMOD David Molden and NASA Administrator Charles Jr. Bolden held talks on 12 July as part of efforts to further boost professional relations between the two organizations.

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Experts from ICIMOD contributed to ’Training on Space Technology for Flood Hazard Mapping, Flood Forecast, and Rapid Mapping in Bangladesh’ held 12–16 May at Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARRSO) in Dhaka. Deo Raj Gurung, Remote Sensing Specialist….

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The winning team from the International Space Apps Challenge: Kathmandu Hackathon in Nepal was awarded an Honourable Mention in the Most Inspiring Category during the announcement of the Global Award Winners for the 2013 International Space Apps Challenge on 22 May.

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A total of 60 participants, among which 16 were women, divided themselves into 17 teams, with some calling upon virtual participation and input from others around the globe. Using earth observation resources and geo-ICT tools, teams worked on challenges that included mapping emergency service providers in Kathmandu through an online interface…

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