Satellite imagery for disaster response and assessment
Avatar photo Nash Prado

Satellite imagery for disaster response and assessment

Artificial Intelligence | Digital Elevation Model | Infrastructure | Monitoring

Satellite mapping has become one of the most important tools for disaster response over the past 5 years. 3D models and up-to-date satellite imagery can locate affected areas, quantify damage and prioritize resources before help arrives. This article will show you how data is used in those crucial first hours after a catastrophe.

Satellite imagery supports disaster response and humanitarian crises by providing near real-time data which may be impossible via other means. Through the use of satellite images and GIS mapping, disaster response officials acquire a wealth of information for the assessment, analysis, and monitoring of natural disasters such as landslides.

 

Naga Cebu, Philippines – 2018 Landslide

On September 20, 2018, a huge landslide happened in a residential area in Naga Cebu, Philippines triggered by heavy rainfall and quarrying operations near a residential area over Naga Cebu. Before the landslide, the area had been identified by the authorities as a landslide-prone area.

 

With the use of remote sensing and satellite imagery, developing a crisis map could help disaster response and the management support team an immediate overview of the extent of damage of a landslide.

Change detection algorithms applied on pre and post landslide satellite images highlight the extent of damage of the large-scale landslide within the targeted area.

Naga, Cebu pre-landslidepost landslide satellite imagery
Landslide extent processed by ProImagery from high-resolution pre and post landslide images using change detection algorithms.

 

Due to this landslide, many houses and properties were buried and killed 78 people with 5 others missing. With the use of various remote sensing techniques, the buildings and houses near the quarrying site were able to be pinpointed based on very high-resolution pre-landslide satellite images.

A very high-resolution post-landslide satellite image captured over the area shows clearly the damage extent of the landslide. The processed landslide extent and building locations show which houses were possibly buried. This critical information could have helped rescuers on search and rescue operations on the ground.

Proimagery prepared a 3D model of the affected area, overlaid with data to show affected houses highlighted by red dots. This data can help disaster response crews prioritize areas of the most concern.

Conclusion

Detailed landslide modeling is the ideal solution to mitigate future landslide risk, but landslides will still happen. For at-risk areas, detailed 3D models prepared in advance paired with satellite monitoring can be a very cost-effective strategy to detect and respond to landslides.

If you want to find out more about how Proimagery can mitigate landslide risk, please feel free to reach out.