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NASA has installed a regional climate monitoring system in a decommissioned US military base in Panama now used by UNESCO. SERVIR -- the Spanish acronym for the Regional Visualization and Monitoring System for Mesoamerica -- is a hub for monitoring environmental conditions across Central America. It's now part of the facility run by The Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC).

NASA's main site gives the overview:

Featuring a massive, Web-based data archive of maps and satellite imagery, decision-support tools and interactive visualization capabilities, SERVIR is designed to aid government and industry across the seven countries of Central America and the southern Mexican states. [...] The system contains user-friendly, interactive tools. It is designed to make NASA Earth observations and predictions freely and readily accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Designed to track weather, climate and ecological events, the system has already shown results in Central America, monitoring wildfires, red tides, and blooms of toxic algae threatening local fishing areas.

...and SERVIR's home site gives a few more details:

The SERVIR webpage provides free and open access to:

1. Satellite and other spatial data sets via MesoStor
2. Interactive online maps
3. Thematic decision support tools, and
4. 3-D interactive visualizations

Thematic decision support areas currently available on the SERVIR webpage include: fire detection, red tide detection, and climate change. Planned products include decision support tools for short term weather prediction, coastal zone management, land cover and land use change, terrestrial carbon stocks monitoring, water resources, and disaster management. The computational architecture of SERVIR also hosts data from regional initiatives such as the Mesoamerican Environmental Information System (SIAM), the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN), and the United Nations Environmental Programme’s Global Resource Information Database (UNEP-GRID) for Latin America and the Caribbean.

SERVIR appears to be a fantastic source of satellite data and images, computational resources, and scientific information specifically for monitoring and managing the Central American environment. We talk about the value of satellite and scientific data for the developing world fairly often here, and not just in the context of disasters. SERVIR looks to be a perfect example of how such information can be made accessible and useful.


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