The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Republic of Peru have formalized a partnership that will facilitate cooperative research in Earth Observations and technology development, which has numerous applications for national priority research areas.
The bilateral Memorandum of Agreement, the first of its kind, was signed in August by Dr. David Applegate, Associate Director for Natural Hazards Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, USGS, and Mayor General FAP José Antonio García Morgan, Agencia Espacial Del Perú of the Comisión Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Aeroespacial (known as CONIDA, translated as “the National Aerospace Research and Development Commission,” which is the governing body of space activities in Peru).
This agreement, facilitated through the intergovernmental organization of the Group on Earth Observations, is an example of the lasting commitment of the United States and the Republic of Peru for “a future wherein decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive, and sustained Earth Observations”.
“International cooperation and collaboration like this joint initiative with our partners in Peru is what scientific advancement is all about,” Applegate said. “Facilitating access and utilizing shared resources among a dynamic range of governmental and industry partners, as we’re doing with CONIDA and the PeruSAT-1 satellite platform, is how the global scientific community advances discovery for the betterment of humanity around the world.”
The USGS and CONIDA have shared priority science interests in the use of satellite imagery for the purposes of natural hazard assessment disaster risk reduction, climate change and environmental health, as well as land, water, and energy resource management. One of the planned collaborations is the joint utilization of the U.S. Landsat satellite’s nearly 50-year archive and data from PerúSAT-1, a high-resolution Earth Observation satellite system operated by CONIDA for disaster risk reduction and resilience. CONIDA is looking to coordinate with the USGS (along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]) in the production of mapping resources that improve basic services (e.g., clean water, transportation, energy), and implementation of next-generation technologies that expand Peruvian public access to PerúSAT-1 data.
“The signing of this agreement greatly benefits the institution and our stakeholders because it allows us to provide the data processing service to all the institutions at the national level," García Morgan said.
Likewise, CONIDA is assisting the USGS with utilization of the PerúSAT-1 for the collection of 0.7m resolution data over Alaska, which could be of great benefit to the USGS Alaska Mapping Initiative. The mapping of natural hazards in Alaska alone could save lives and help in the design and protection of infrastructure and dozens of coastal communities.
These activities will advance the development of base maps, analysis-ready data, and digital elevation models that are needed to map natural hazards and monitor Earth surface deformation (for example, in the vicinity of landslides, volcanoes and earthquakes). Topographic mapping at the high resolution enabled with PerúSAT-1 will allow both countries to map flood-prone areas and elevation change more accurately through time.