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MCEER Earthquake Reconnaissance Investigation

Visualizing the Impacts of Earthquakes using Remote Sensing Images (VIEWS)

Running on a notebook computer for portability in the field (Figure 3), VIEWS enables reconnaissance teams to compare satellite images acquired before and after an earthquake. The system directs responders to the hardest hit areas, using a preliminary regional damage assessment (Adams et al., 2003b). For more detailed damage information, collapsed buildings are easily identified on the high-resolution satellite coverage.

 

Photo of 4 people looking at VIEWS images projected on a large screen from a laptop

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Figure 3 The VIEWS (Visualizing the Impacts of Earthquakes using Remote Sensing Images) system being tested prior to deployment in Bam with the EERI reconnaissance team.

 

The imagery also serves as a basemap and orientation device for teams deployed to unfamiliar cities. To help users gain and maintain their bearings, VIEWS tracks their current position using a real-time GPS feed. The system provides easy recall for observations made in the field. As users enter comments such as building damage descriptions and the ID number of their photographs, all information is automatically linked to the current GPS location. Back in the office, VIEWS datasets are readily transferred to a GIS environment, for further analysis.

The following sections present the VIEWS satellite coverage of Bam, together with the quick-look regional damage assessment used by the EERI reconnaissance team. VIEWS excerpts used to visualize building damage in the Bam citadel and surrounding residential districts are also included.

 

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