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MCEER Earthquake Reconnaissance Investigation

Satellite Data and Other Base Data Available for the Survey

The screen shot of the VIEWS User interface in Figure 3 demonstrates how the satellite images serve as the mapping base layer. Through the real-time GPS feed, routes taken around the damaged areas were logged and overlaid on a vector-based street map. Georeferenced building damage and impacted area observations were recorded using the GPS-linked digital video recorder. A georeferenced photographic record was also collected, illustrating in detail, damage characteristics from the Tsunami.


screen shot of interface

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Figure 3 User interface for the VIEWS system, deployed to collect building damage data in Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand


Satellite imagery was made available to the field investigation team from multiple sources. ImageCat obtained high resolution “before” and “after” Quickbird imagery from Digitalglobe for Patong Beach area of Phuket, Thailand. Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), Thailand provided the following datasets in ECW format for visualizing impacts and general navigation purposes:

GISTDA also provided street and province boundary data in shape file format for field investigation team.

Preliminary Findings

Phang Nga Province

Areas in Phang Nga province surveyed included tourist resort areas in Khao Lak, and fisherman’s villages in the Ban Nam Khem area and Ban Pracho in Ko Prathong. With its long and narrow stretch of coastline, Khao Lak was the one of the hardest hit tourist destinations in Thailand. Resort locations surveyed included: the Similana Resort; the Bamboo Orchid Resort; and Le Meridian Khaolak. Tablamu Pier in Khao Lak was also surveyed as a part of the reconnaissance mission. Survey efforts also focused on collecting damage information within fishing industry centers of Ban Nam Khem and Ban Pacho.

Figure 4 (a) through (c) depicts the routes through Khao Lak area in Phang Nga province along which GPS readings, georeferenced video coverage and photographic record were collected. Reportedly, these are areas recorded tsunami wave heights of up to11 meters. Most of the resorts surveyed sustained heavy to very heavy damage.


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Figure 4 VIEWS reconnaissance routes in Khao Lak (a) Pakarang Cape routes and the devastated Bamboo Orchid Resort, (b) Mid-Khao Lak routes and photos of destroyed buildings, (c) Lower Khao Lak routes and Similana Resort photographs

Phi Phi Island in Krabi Province

Figure 5 depicts the locations on the Phi Hi Island where GPS readings, georeferenced video coverage and photographic record were collected including photographs of damage sustained. Phi Phi Island is located about 48 kms southeast of Phuket in the Anadaman Sea. The island of Phi Phi suffered extensive damage, with most resorts in Ton Sai bay closed in the aftermath of the huge waves that swept across the island. The reconnaissance team surveyed two locations on the island including the Ton Sai Bay area where most damage was reported.




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Figure 5 Locations on Phi Phi Island where VIEWS was deployed. (a) Phi Island Survey Routes, (b) Destroyed shopping street, (c) Showing water level inside a completely destroyed shop, (d) Destroyed resort in Ton Sai Bay



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