Ronald T. Eguchi
ImageCat, Inc.

Using Synthetic Aperture Radar and other remote sensing technologies to detect earthquake damage in the 1999 Marmara, Turkey, earthquake


For the past several years, a Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) team has been investigating the use of remote sensing technologies for post-earthquake damage detection. This research has focused on various aspects of damage detection including 1) detection of damage or no damage, 2) quantification of various damage states, on a regional basis, and 3) quantification of damage to specific buildings. We have found that currently available remote sensing data (namely, SPOT, Landsat, and certain radar data, such ERS) can indeed detect major changes to cities caused by extensive damage from earthquake. In certain situations remotely sensed data can also verify particular damage states (such as collapsed buildings).

To test and validate the methodology, the research team applied specially developed change detection algorithms to two areas of Turkey. Both areas (Golcuk and Adapazari) were devastated in the 1999 Marmara, Turkey earthquake. In Golcuk, severe damage was observed to multi-story residential structures, in addition to some ground subsidence problems. To estimate change, a broad set of change detection algorithms was applied to the analysis. For the two areas above, Landsat and ERS data were used to assess major structural changes caused by the earthquake. These data were provided by the European Space Agency. For the Golcuk area, we also obtained SPOT data from researchers in Turkey who are also investigating the use of remotely sensed for damage detection.

The significance of these findings is far-reaching. As demonstrated in many disasters before, delayed or impeded response does lead to further damage (as in the case of unchecked fires) and prolonged recovery. Ultimately, these impacts load the local and regional infrastructures with higher recovery costs and additional social burdens. By developing and implementing technologies that allow for more rapid evaluation of regional damage, we can increase a community's level of resilience. This research was sponsored by MCEER and by the National Science Foundation through a special grant on the Marmara, Turkey earthquake.


Wednesday, March 6th, 2002


4:00 PM EST

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Seminar sponsored by MCEER Networking and Education Programs, MCEER SLC and hosted by the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and the EERI Student Chapter at UB. For further information please contact Andrea Dargush at (716) 645-3391(x106), or A. Natali Sigaher at (716) 645-2114(x2445).


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