Alert: Please correct the errors!
The December 26, 2004, earthquake off the coast of Indonesia resulted in a humanitarian crisis the likes of which has not been seen in over a century. Accurate early damage estimates were made complicated by the tsunami's broad spread--politically and geographically--as well as the narrow footprint of the coastal damage. This also made it difficult to plan the appropriate level of international response, despite the unprecedented offerings of assistance. Scientific and technical agencies that collect, process, and utilize remote sensing and GIS assets mobilized their resources quickly in an effort to provide support to the immediate post-disaster response efforts. Still, a judicious assessment of these efforts reveals serious gaps in the ability of remotely sensed data and GIS mapping tools to contribute effectively to immediate field-based relief needs. This paper will provide a critical examination of, primarily, USGS remote sensing and GIS response efforts to the tsunami disaster.