Each year, our environment is exposed to a series of major hazards like forest fires, oil spills, floods, earthquakes, etc. A single such event may cause major damage to people or the ecological system in general. Emergency management authorities report that in order to reduce the effects to a minimum, it is of the utmost importance to be able to detect and report such events quickly and accurately. Current procedures are mostly manual and often time consuming. Recent developments within telematics and remote sensing technology make it possible to detect, monitor and report many such events in a much more efficient way.

Oil spills are a major source of marine pollution. The amount of oil spill from rinsing tankers and "natural losses" in the Mediterranean alone is estimated to 600,000 tons yearly (three times the Amoco-Cadiz pollution). The problem is correspondingly large along the European Atlantic coast. Today, it is impossible to enforce laws that regulate such oil spills since there are no effective monitoring systems.

Forest fires are a major problem in southern Europe. For example, 1994 was an extremely hazardous year in Spain with loss of human lifes and large economic consequences. At least 20 people died, and 138,000 hectare burned down. Early detection and efficient monitoring for assessment management of fire fighting will have great impact.

During the last years, several major floods have occurred in Europe. Use of a satellite imagery in combination with other data sources can represent a very cost-effective tool to monitor large areas and provide decision support for counteractions.

One of the most serious emergency situations is earthquakes. An earthquake may result in the loss of thousands of lifes and loss of property corresponding to billions of ECU. Earthquake early warning is possible by interferometric satellite radar observations. Very small movements in the earth's crust, and indication of a potential earthquake, can be measured by this technique.

We propose ENVISYS as a solution to diminish these threats!