Critical infrastructure is defined as systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital that the destruction of such would have a debilitating impact on security, health or safety of a nation or a group of nations. Examples of critical infrastructure are dams, water treatment facilities, oil fields, pipelines, pumping stations, airports, highways and governmental buildings.
Visualizing areas or assets at risk during natural or human-induced disasters, through the use of thematic mapping offers new perspectives for risk management and decision making. The identification of human settlements and critical infrastructure under threat enable crisis management officials and first responders to estimate possible damages. This constitutes the previous step necessary for vulnerability assessment of critical infrastructures.
Threat analysis and vulnerability assessment
Vulnerability assessment studies evaluate the likelihood of occurrence for each identified threat. All the facilities face certain risks associated to various threats, regardless of whether they are a result of accidents, natural events or intentional acts. Threat and vulnerability assessments are achieved through complex analysis of the influential factors, both spatial and non-spatial, the result typically being a thematic map where the analysed facilities are characterized on a vulnerability scale from very low to very high. Over the years, EU SatCen has been involved in vulnerability assessment studies based on spatially enabled data (satellite imagery, digital terrain models, vector data, HumInt...etc). Frequently, the tasks received were related to vulnerability assessment of dams and pipeline risk analysis.
© DLR/Distribution Airbus Defence & Space
© CNES/Distribution Airbus Defence & Space
© European Space Imaging/Digital Globe