Sydney Harbor, imaged on November 29, 2015. Image ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.

Imaging Australian Flooding from Space

At the end of September, New South Wales, Australia experienced its worst flooding in over twenty years — with over one hundred buildings inundated and one thousand people evacuated.

The disaster took a particular toll on farming communities in the area, as the harvest was due to take place in November but crops were severely flooded. Thousands of cattle had to be evacuated to safer areas while water levels recede.

Farmland flooding in New South Wales, Australia. Images ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.

More information and coverage of the event is available here and here. In accordance with the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters and the DLR/ZKI (a division of the German Government), Planet provided data that allowed for the very rapid production of the flood map below.

Observed surface water interpreted from RapidEye satellite imagery, which was delivered to authorities within 18 hours from the request for data.

To download more up-to-date data released under the charter, visit