Fujitsu today announced that the Sentinel Asia(1) STEP-2 system, which it built under the auspices of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), became fully operational on March 31, 2010.
The system supports disaster-prevention activities using Earth observation satellites operated by government agencies in Asia, including JAXA, to acquire satellite imagery. The images are then distributed via the Internet and Kizuna communications satellite to countries throughout Asia, including those that do not own satellites.
With an increasing number of typhoons, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other large-scale natural disasters occurring in Asia in recent years, the new system will help countries to quickly respond to disasters. During a trial run held from October 2009 through March 2010, the system was used to track the volcanic eruption of Mt. Mayon in the Philippines on December 25, 2009, where it proved capable of providing useful information.
To support the transmission of information to countries lacking an adequate Internet infrastructure, Fujitsu has integrated its high-speed file transfer solution, BI.DAN-GUN, to the Internet and satellite delivery functions of the system, increasing the speed by as much as 20-fold(2).
Sentinel Asia STEP-2 is an advancement of its predecessor, STEP-1, and has been newly developed to deliver information to disaster-response organizations from countries participating in the Sentinel Asia project, using a website which collects and displays imagery from Earth observation satellites. In emergency situations such as natural disasters, the STEP-2 system will provide satellite imagery of the affected region when requested by any participating country. Fujitsu's high-speed file transfer service, BI.DAN-GUN, has been integrated into the system's Internet and satellite data transmission functions, increasing the effectiveness of transfers between distant locations or over poor communications lines. It also supports reliable transmissions of satellite imagery to areas lacking an adequate Internet infrastructure. As high-efficiency transfers and image distribution are now possible, the system also holds the promise of helping other countries stay abreast of natural disaster conditions in the future.
The system started trial operations in October 2009, and went into regular operations as of April 2010.
1. Regional server installation (Thailand and Philippines)
To make the Sentinel Asia system more accessible to the countries of Southeast Asia, regional servers have been set up in Thailand and the Philippines to augment the central server in Japan. As a result, the same information found on the central server can be downloaded or viewed from any of the regional servers.
2. Periodic disaster data transmission from the central server to regional servers
Information such as forest-fire data, rainfall distribution images, and weather-satellite images are transmitted over satellite or the Internet directly from the central server to regional servers at five-minute intervals(3). Disaster-response agencies can download this information from the regional servers and view when necessary.
3. Emergency information distribution during disasters (using WINDS satellite communications and the Internet)
In times of disasters, the system can handle emergency requests from Asian nations to provide emergency monitoring of affected regions, in addition to periodic transmissions. Satellite imagery is distributed via satellite and the Internet to those organizations handling emergency monitoring as well as those analyzing satellite images.
4. Web-GIS application service displays satellite images overlaid on maps
The Web-GIS application service makes satellite images of disaster-affected areas easier to analyze by overlaying them with maps, topographic lines, and other geographic information. This simplifies on-screen analysis and before/after comparisons.
5. Periodic transmission of outside data information on forest fires and rainfall distribution
The system also collects data from Japan's Meteorological Agency, the University of Tokyo, and research institutes in Australia, Thailand, and Singapore, providing additional information on forest fires, rainfall distribution, and weather. This information is transmitted at regular intervals to the regional servers and agencies in other countries.
The system is built around nine Fujitsu PRIMERGY X86 servers, with Fujitsu ETERNUS NR1000 disk arrays for storage, and Fujitsu PRIMECLUSTER high-reliability platform software.
October 4, 2009: Flood in Philippines
October 6, 2009: Flood in Nepal
November 2, 2009: Flood in Vietnam
December 16, 2009: Flood in Sri Lanka
December 25, 2009: Volcanic eruption in Philippines
February 23, 2010: Landslide in Indonesia
March 9, 2010: Forest fire in Bhutan
During 2009, a total of 58 organizations in 23 countries and regions, along with nine international organizations, participated in the Sentinel Asia project. It has also entered into an alliance with the International Charter Space and Major Disasters(4). As Sentinel Asia raises its international profile, it is expected to be an important vehicle for Japan's diplomatic exchanges in the field of science and technology for the benefit of Asia.
Fujitsu looks forward to building on its experience with system development for aerospace organizations such as JAXA, and with creating, developing, and operating social-infrastructure systems for organizations such as the Japan Meteorological Agency to contribute to the benefit of global welfare through the application of ICT.
 Sentinel Asia
An international project proposed in 2005 by JAXA and promoted by the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) to make space technologies, such as Earth observation satellites, an effective resource in disaster preparedness and crisis management for the Asia-Pacific region, where a large number of natural disasters are concentrated. The organization currently has 58 organizations from 23 countries and nine international organizations as members.
Measured over FTP(5) between Japan and Europe. Achieved an improvement of 1.5x over typical WAN accelerators and 7x between ASEAN countries with inadequate communications lines. Information based on research conducted by Fujitsu.
 Five-minute intervals
Frequency may vary depending on the type of information acquired.
 International Charter Space and Major Disasters
The International Charter aims at providing a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to those affected by natural or man-made disasters through Authorized Users. Each member agency has committed resources to support the provisions of the Charter and thus is helping to mitigate the effects of disasters on human life and property. Following the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria in July 1999, the European Space Agency (ESA) and French space agency (CNES) initiated the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters", with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) signing the Charter on October 20, 2000. It officially came into operation on November 1, 2000.
Abbreviation for File Transfer Protocol. Protocol used when transferring files through TCP/IP networks such as the Internet.
Fujitsu is a leading provider of IT-based business solutions for the global marketplace. With approximately 175,000 employees supporting customers in 70 countries, Fujitsu combines a worldwide corps of systems and services experts with highly reliable computing and communications products and advanced microelectronics to deliver added value to customers. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.6 trillion yen (US$47 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009. For more information, please see: www.fujitsu.com.
All other company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.
Date: 01 April, 2010
Company: Fujitsu Limited
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