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DigitalGlobe monitors Hurricane Maria

by Amit Benet Nag

Hurricane Maria is a weakening tropical cyclone which struck Dominica as a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale, Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane, and is currently threatening North Carolina and parts of the Mid-Atlantic. Till now, it is the tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record.

By September 25, 2017, Hurricane Maria has caused a toll of 59 deaths; 27 in Dominica, 5 in the Dominican Republic, 2 in Guadeloupe, 3 in Haiti, 24 in Puerto Rico, and 1 in the United States Virgin Island.

                                         Location map of the Hurricane Maria affected area©NOAA.

An aerial view of part of Roseau, revealing widespread damage to roofs. Flash floods clogged roads with debris, vegetative and structural, and mud.

As part of Open Data Program, DigitalGlobe has publicly released the pre and post-event satellite imagery of the affected areas to support the disaster relief response. They are currently tasking their satellites to capture the imagery of the regions in the storm’s path as part of our FirstLook crisis response program. As with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, DigitalGlobe has to wait till the cloud cover fades away from the hurricane and there’s a clear sky for post-event Imagery. The collected post-event imagery is now available through Open Data Program site. Pre-event imagery is currently available, however there is more to check in this blog for updates on image collection.

Roseau, Dominica captured by WorldView-2. The image on left was collected on May 1, 2017, and the image on the right was collected on September 22, 2017.

From the reports of CNN, Hurricane Maria could cost Puerto Rico around $45 billion to $95 billion in damage which is catastrophic. People are scrambling for food, water, fuel and cash with the entire island without power (blackout) and outages are expected to last for months in some parts of Puerto Rico.

Help is slowly arriving, but the residents say there's more that can be done towards it. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said that by Wednesday (local time), they have delivered more than 4.4 million meals and 6.5 million litres of water in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands since Maria ravaged the Caribbean.


Hurricane Maria was the third major hurricane after Hurricane Irma and Jose, caused catastrophic damage during its journey across the Northeastern Caribbean. DigitalGlobe’s Open Data Program has released Pre and post-event Imagery of it for support the disaster response.


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