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On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked our nation’s landmarks and indeed America itself. By using high-jacked planes as missiles, the terrorists left our World Trade Center in ruins and the Pentagon with a gaping hole in its side. Recovery at these sites will go on for months.

On September 14, the New York State Office for Technology (OFT) asked EarthData to assist in this recovery at the World Trade Center. The mission, jointly developed by OFT and EarthData, is to conduct a series of overflights over what has been dubbed “Ground Zero.” The combined suite of three sensors collect black and white digital imagery at a resolution that can depict ground details down to half a foot by half a foot, elevation data with a vertical accuracy of six inches and thermal information that can detect change in surface temperature of less than one degree centigrade.

Simply put, the combined geospatial information collected by these sensors is converted into a range of accurate computer maps and application products that allow the recovery agencies and departments to accurately define the position of underground gas and electric lines that are in close proximity to the disaster area, calculate any movement and cubic volume of all rubble piles, monitor the development or retardation of the underground fires, assist in the development of structural audits of all damaged buildings in the vicinity and be the basis for developing the debris removal plan. These capabilities and products help the recovery plan move forward efficiently while endeavoring to ensure the safety of all personnel on the site.

The data garnered by EarthData is rushed to recovery command centers in Albany and Lower Manhattan and distributed immediately to firefighters, engineers, city officials and other rescue workers. EarthData’s aircraft and technical staff are on location in New York and will continue to acquire and produce maps and data as long as New York State and the nation need these critical services.

EarthData and its employees extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of this tragedy and their families. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by these horrendous events. The company is honored to contribute to the recovery operation and the rebuilding of our landmarks.

The images on the following pages are available for viewing purposes only. The New York State Office for Technology is the central coordinating agency for this data and has approved the images on this site for the public.

For additional information contact newyork@earthdata.com.

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