Enabling the public sector to save money, innovate and make more effective policy decisions by using space technology and data

Blog: OneResilience Conference and the Emergency Services Show

By Jenny Durnan, Space Innovation Facilitator, SSGP

On 7 September, the Space for Smarter Government Programme (SSGP) team, accompanied by colleagues from the Satellite Applications Catapult, travelled to Manchester for the OneResilience Conference. The event was co-hosted by ResilienceDirect and the Natural Hazards Partnership, both of whom we have been working closing with over the past couple of years.   

The theme of the conference was on how the resilience community in the UK can respond to the challenges facing them through innovation in terms of both technology and collaborative ways of working. Over the last five years this community has repeatedly had to face all that the elements have to throw at them, and responded heroically. The aim of the conference was to think about ways to help them respond that is safer and more effective, and how to learn from previous events to better prepare for the future.

During the day we showcased the role that satellite technology could play, presenting the power of visualising satellite imagery in 3D, and how it could assist in command and control management. This piqued the room’s interest and sat well alongside the message coming from other presenters on the need for a common situational view of what’s happening on the ground, and the value of consistent and authoritative data to support decision making. Meanwhile, Cumbria Police explained how drone technology had been pivotal to helping them understand the situation during the floods in Cumbria in December 2015 – the same premise as satellite imagery, just on a different scale.

The day also saw the launch of the Natural Hazards Partnership’s new website, which provides a whole host of useful information about a range of hazards and ways to respond, and is definitely worth a visit.

It was all wrapped up by posing one question to the room: are you really prepared? This thought-provoking question was illustrated by an example from Lancaster during last year’s floods where the city lost power for days, and how this hampered many activities we take for granted. Would you know what to do in the same situation?

For a neat summary of the day you can watch the OneResilience Conference video.

A couple of weeks later the team decamped to the Birmingham NEC for the Emergency Services Show. Over the course of two days, thousands of people walked through the doors to meet with a diverse range of exhibitors and hear from experts during a packed seminar programme.

This was a great opportunity for the team to build on the momentum from the OneResilience Conference. It enabled us to continue identifying how satellite technology and data can offer innovative solutions for improving the response to natural events to better protect people, the environment and critical national infrastructure.

We were delighted with the response we got at both events. We’d like to thank everyone who spoke to us at these events. Over the coming months we’re going to be looking for new ways to use satellite technology and data during the response to natural hazards, building on everything we learnt at these events and working with the people we met. If you’d be interested to work with us on this, please email us at ssgp@ukspaceagency.bis.gsi.gov.uk.