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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 24, Number 1, Spring 2010

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Volume 24, Number 1, Spring 2010

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Damage Assessment Activities Following Haiti Quake

Chris Renschler and student Heather Collins

Chris Renschler and student Heather Collins are helping assess damage in Haiti using images hosted by Google Earth and the Virtual Disaster Viewer.

MCEER and the LESAM (Landscape-based Environmental System Analysis & Modeling) Laboratory, two centers located at the University at Buffalo, are part of a worldwide group of experts (GEO-CAN, which stands for Global Earth Observation-Catastrophe Assessment Network) who are working to develop accurate damage assessments of the earthquake-stricken areas of Haiti.

Led by Chris Renschler, Associate Professor of Geography, the MCEER/LESAM group is using fifteen centimeter Google aerial imagery to estimate and classify building damage based in the Western portion of Port-au-Prince to distinguish collapsed buildings from those left intact, and then identify the degree of damage to individual buildings. These levels are based on the European Macroseismic Scale 1998.

Results are available through the Virtual Disaster Viewer (VDV), developed by ImageCat, Inc., and hosted at