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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
Satellite-based Emergency Mapping (SEM) mechanisms provide information for emergency response in relation to different types of disasters, including tsunamis, based on the analysis of satellite imagery acquired in the aftermath of an event. One of the main critical aspects of a SEM service is the timeliness in providing relevant information in the hours following the event. The availability of a relevant post-event image is crucial; therefore, satellite sensors need to be programmed as soon as possible. The integration of a tsunami alerting system, like the one offered by the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), can be highly beneficial in a SEM mechanism for streamlining and accelerating the satellite programming task and for generating first damage estimates. The GDACS tsunami model is validated using tidal gauge data and a post-event field survey. Tsunami model outputs are then exploited to automatically identify areas of interest to be used for immediate satellite acquisition triggering. Three alternative operational integration approaches are proposed, described and discussed, taking as use case the tsunami that struck the central Chilean coast after the 8.3 magnitude earthquake on 16 September 2015.