Providing Flood Imagery

Image collected along the Mississippi River between Warsaw, Illinois, and La Grange, Iowa.Scientists from the Illinois State Geological Survey, the Illinois State Water Survey, the Illinois Natural History Survey, and geography faculty from Illinois State University are collaborating to process and interpret satellite imagery collected over Illinois during June and early July 2008. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin experienced significant flooding during this period. As a result of this natural disaster, on June 10, 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) activated the International Charter: 

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. (

The image at the right was collected along the Mississippi River between Warsaw, Illinois, and La Grange, Iowa. This color infrared image was collected by the French Spot satellite. Levee overtopping and breaching along the Illinois portion of the channel resulted in flooding of nearly 50 square miles of lowland agricultural lands.

Through cooperative relationships established between the USGS, the National Geospatial Agency, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal and international agencies, a variety of imaging satellites have been acquiring daily both medium- and high-resolution imagery over flood-impacted areas of these five states. In Illinois, this image collection has been primarily focused over the Mississippi River floodplain from Rock Island County to the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers in Alexander County.