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Posted on May 5th, 2015

FirstLook Crisis Event – Tornado Strikes Fairdale, Illinois

Timing is everything when it comes to a crisis, whether it’s local or global; and fast, reliable, high-resolution imagery is an important part of the puzzle as is offered in the FirstLook Crisis Event service. Since looking at the post-event imagery only goes so far, FirstLook adds pre-event imagery to help with the before and after analysis.

What’s makes an event worthy of collecting imagery? Great question. Events can range in type from natural disasters to human-made events, and from political unrest to human interests.

A before image of the town of Fairdale, Illinois imaged on October 11, 2014 by the 50-cm color satellite, WorldView-2. (Image Courtesy: DigitalGlobe)
An after image of the town of Fairdale, Illinois after an EF-4 destroyed multiple homes. FirstLook data collected on April 11, 2015 by the 50-cm color satellite, WorldView-2. (Image Courtesy: DigitalGlobe)

How do I access the imagery? Another great question. You access the imagery several ways, including: My DigitalGlobe (a password protected web viewer), Web Map Service (WMS), Web Map Tile Service (WMTS), EarthService or via an OGC-compliant software plug-in.

The photos below show the before and after damage of an EF-4 that hit the American town of Fairdale, Illinois on April 10, 2015. This particular tornado had wind speeds up to 200 miles per hour and early findings indicate that the tornado tracked from near Rochelle to near Belvidere, with a direct hit on Fairdale.

The town of Fairdale was the hardest hit, where officials said every home in the town was damaged, and 17 were completely destroyed. An estimated 15 Illinois agencies were part of the tornado response team and worked through the night to locate survivors.

FirstLook Product Specifications

  • Data Sources: WorldView-2, GeoEye-1 and WorldView-1
  • Resolution:  50-cm
  • Imagery Band Combinations Offered: panchromatic, natural color and NIR (for fire events)
  • Access:  OGC streaming services (i.e. WMS, WMST, WCS and WFS), Google Earth streaming services (i.e. EarthService), ArcGIS plugin (i.e. ImageConnect), online portal (i.e.
  • Geographic Subscriptions Offered:  global, regional or per event
  • Event Collection Durations: 15 days or 30 days
  • Subscription Term:  annual

To find out which subscription option is best for you and to schedule a demo of the service, please feel free to reach out to me directly at

Robert O’Munneke
Chief of Sales
(703) 304-6425

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