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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 21, Number 1, Spring 2007

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Volume 21, Number 1, Spring 2007

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Remote Sensing Institute to Focus on Real World Applications

gymnasiumThe PDV program delivers post-disaster
damage data within 24-48 hours of the event

A new Remote Sensing Institute (RSI) was officially launched in June during MCEER’s 2006 Annual Meeting. The RSI will serve as a platform for developing and operationally implementing innovative multi-hazard techniques, strategies and products for rapidly assessing post-disaster impacts, modeling and quantifying the built environment, and monitoring recovery.

Ron Eguchi, RSI Task Force team leader, MCEER investigator and CEO of ImageCat, Inc., commented “the RSI is a first of its kind, bridging industry, the research community and government agencies in examining important issues, opportunities and challenges to institutionalizing the use of remote sensing technologies for disaster response.” Other members of the Task Force are Beverley Adams, ImageCat, Inc., Michel Bruneau, MCEER, Thomas O’Rourke, Cornell University, Chris S. Renschler, University at Buffalo and Masanobu Shinozuka, University of California at Irvine.

RSI is currently pursuing opportunities with a range of government agencies, industry leaders from the emergency management and Re/Insurance sectors, and international organizations involved in risk and loss assessment, disaster mitigation, response and recovery.

Building on previous reserach achievements, RSI offers clients a wealth of remote sensing and GIS-based capabilities and scientific expertise. The institute will continue to embrace fundamental and applied research activities to develop innovative new approaches to short- and long-term disaster management. Commercial products and services developed by MCEER researchers and available through RSI include: 24-48 hour post-disaster damage assessment under the PDV™ (Post-disaster Damage Verification) program; near real-time flood, surge, hurricane, earthquake and tsunami damage assessment through remote sensing-based damage scales and advanced image analysis techniques; and forensic GPS-registered damage assessment using the in-field VIEWS™ data collection and visualization system.

Through sponsored activities such as the International Workshop Series on Remote Sensing for Disaster Response, RSI will continue to provide a successful forum for industry, the research community and government organizations to discuss the issues, opportunities and challenges in institutionalizing the use of remote sensing technologies for disaster management. The fifth workshop in the series will be held in Washington DC during the fall of 2007.

The Task Force is currently identifying prospective members of an Advisory Board that will help to guide RSI outreach activities and the development of new strategic partnerships.