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ORNL's LandScan helps tsunami relief

December 28, 2004 — Relief agencies working to assist victims of Sunday's tsunamis in the Indian Ocean are using a demographic database developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

LandScan is a global population database that shows geographical distribution of population at one-kilometer resolution. Using population distribution maps, relief workers can easily and quickly determine the locations of potential tsunami victims who would otherwise be cut off from communication.

Budhendra Bhaduri, group leader of geographic information science and technology in ORNL's Computational Sciences and Engineering Division, said the LandScan database system is being used to identify spatial and population numbers in the impacted tsunami areas, down to the square kilometer and aiding recovery efforts.

For soundbites from Bhaduri, click on the audio link to the right.

Before the disaster, LandScan data was used to plan aid and recovery efforts after the 2003 earthquake that destroyed Bam, Iran.