CEOS Recovery Observatory

The Recovery Observatory (RO) is a project of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) designed to demonstrate the value of space-based information in recovery planning and monitoring. The Recovery Observatory was established by the CEOS Working Group on Disasters (WGDisasters) in 2013.  

To achieve its aim, the RO facilitates access to relevant space-based information to support end users in their decision-making processes regarding recovery planning and to monitor progress. The RO benefits from the provision of satellite imagery provided by the members of CEOS who contribute to the implementation of the RO, and from value-added contributions from other institutions that generate space-based information, including private companies.  

The Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction of the World Bank (GFDRR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Commission facilitate the use of inputs from the RO in the elaboration of Post-Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNAs).  The PDNA is a methodology developed by these organizations to define recovery needs using the quantification of damages, economic losses and information obtained from affected communities. More information on the PDNA is available here.

The Recovery Observatory was first activated in 2017 after hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti. This pilot effort served as a “Proof of Concept” and as a first example of what is possible when satellite data are collected and applied to elaborate recovery plans. The RO worked together with Haitian partners and the definition of cartographic products, their improvements as well as their validations are carried out directly by them. During this activation in Haiti, the RO focused its efforts on several themes: the recovery of buildings, transport networks, agricultural activities, watershed, terrain motion and environmental rehabilitation. More information about activities and data and a map visualization can be found on their website RO Haiti (

Subsequent “demonstrators” of the RO were launched in 2021 after the explosion of a port facility in Beirut; in several Central American countries which were heavily impacted by the Eta and Iota hurricanes; and in Haiti due to the earthquake and tropical storm Grace which impacted this country. Subsequently in 2022 to contribute to recovery efforts after the catastrophic floods in Pakistan. 

Types of Users

National planning agencies, national financial institutions and other PDNA partners.

Conditions for Activation

A very large disaster triggered by a natural or technological disaster.


The request for activation is elevated by one of its members. The RO will be activated once the three main partners: World Bank, UNDP, and European Commission, agree on its activation.

User Request/Point of Contact

National Governments, PDNA partners


The RO facilitates access to space-based information generated by space agencies that is useful to assess damages more precisely.  This information is expected to be used by national governments and PDNA partners in the elaboration of the PDNA and as a baseline to monitor recovery efforts.  

The RO also provides policy-relevant advice to government agencies on the benefits of the use of space-based information in recovery planning and monitoring.