Seeing a Better World™


By DigitalGlobe | Published:

On Friday, devastation hit the Philippines. The massively destructive typhoon, Haiyan, turned into one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded at landfall, with winds estimated at 195 mph, gusts up to 235 mph and a storm surge that rose up to 20 feet high. As with any natural disaster, rapid, comprehensive, unclassified satellite coverage can be an invaluable tool for responding to these major events.

On November 07, 2013 at 7 pm EST, several hours before Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, DigitalGlobe activated FirstLook, an online subscription service for emergency managers and enterprise customers that provides fast, web-based access to pre- and post-event imagery of natural and manmade disasters. In the first few days, following the initial devastation, DigitalGlobe’s satellites collected and delivered over 19,000 square kilometersof imagery in the hardest hit areas, including Tacloban City and the surrounding areas.  FirstLook’s frequent revisit times have enabled rapid delivery of quality imagery content during this time-critical event.

Below is a chilling image chip, depicting the impact from typhoon Haiyan.

This area on the west side of Cancabato Bay bore some of the heaviest brunt. Debris from the storm surge is seen in the lower left area. You can also make out a “Help Us” sign in front of the Redemptorist Church

The scale of the storm’s destruction has been massive. In addition to collecting imagery, we need volunteers to help us map the devastation. In support of such efforts, DigitalGlobe has activated a crowdsourcing campaign, open to anyone willing to help.

For this campaign, we will be releasing the crowd produced results to the open source community. Contact DigitalGlobe’s Tomnod platform team at if you are interested in receiving access to the Haiyan data.

More resources from DigitalGlobe:

For media: please use required attribution “Satellite image courtesy of DigitalGlobe” and copyright. See our usage policy

For geospatial professionals: here is the catalog ID you can use to quickly access your area of interest.

For U.S. government employees: Use your .gov or .mil address to obtain access to our high resolution satellite imagery via My DigitalGlobe, and NGA’s EnhancedView program.

Download our complete FirstLook Report below:


Johana says: December 22, 2014 at 4:28 am

Roger, you sayUnfortunately for Sachs that paper does not show trends sigcifinant at the >90% level for the strongest cyclones in the western North Pacific basinI would argue that what the Sachs paper actually shows is that one cannot out rule out no trend at the 90% level (if you consider Figure 2 at least). This is slightly different to what I think you’re implying with the above statement. Even in the WNP basin, the Elsner et al. paper still suggests that a positive trend is more likely than a negative trend (or no trend). Also, if you consider Table 1 from Elsner et al., which goes beyond the 0.85 quantile, it seems to suggest that the trend is both positive and, in some cases, statistically sigcifinant.

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Josie says: November 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Please can you show other places that typhoon Haiyan like CAPIZ AND AKLAN destroy not only Tacloban because we have a family in Capiz and Aklan. Please help them.

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