Disaster chiefs set up data sharing network

More than 200 international and Australian disaster management experts met in Canberra last week to develop a data sharing network to respond to natural disasters around the globe.

Under the Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN) plan, individual countries and organisations can call on each other for the right technology help.

GDIN executive director Larry Roeder said the aim of the data sharing plan, which will use the Internet and other electronic tools for a more effective response to disasters, is to improve information flow to those who urgently need it.

He said GDIN could provide a Pacific nation managing an earthquake with access to the very latest satellite imagery, maps or modelling available in North America or Europe.

"We recognise there needs to be increased international cooperation to assist countries and regions to take advantage of accelerating developments in information technology to respond and recover from disasters," Roeder said.

The three-day conference was attended by government agencies, IT representatives including specialists in remote sensing and geographic information systems and academic institutions.

Participants agreed on a GDIN business plan to be implemented over the next 12 months.

The plan includes the development of a database of GDIN participants, a network of disaster information specialists to exchange data and a GDIN Internet-based system.

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