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ImageCat Investigates Tsunami Damage Using DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery

In the image above, areas of potential devastation have been identified by cross referencing population data from NOAA's DMSP sensor (in yellow and orange) with wave height modeled by Vasily Titov at NOAA and proximity to the coastline. The resulting areas (in red) are being used to prioritize the acquisition of high-resolution images from DigitalGlobe.

Longmont CO (SPX) Feb 08, 2005
DigitalGlobe has announced that ImageCat is using DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite imagery to assess damage resulting from the massive Indian Ocean tsunami that was triggered by an earthquake on Dec. 26, killing more than 226,000 people.

On Jan. 7, ImageCat and the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) traveled to Phuket, Thailand with engineers from Japan's Chiba University and Bangkok's Asian Institute of Technology to document and analyze the tsunami damage.

In Thailand, more than 5,300 people were killed, important tourist destinations were devastated, and the shrimp industry suffered US$500 million in damage.

The team deployed ImageCat's custom-built Visualizing Impacts of Earthquakes with Satellites (VIEWS), a portable notebook-based reconnaissance system that links high-resolution QuickBird imagery, digital photographs and digital video footage to a real-time GPS feed.

The team used 60-centimeter QuickBird imagery collected over Patong Beach in Phuket on Jan. 2, 2005, and for comparison purposes, imagery collected in March 2002. VIEWS is operated with a digital video recorder and digital camera from either a moving vehicle or on-foot, and produces a permanent visual record of damage.

"QuickBird imagery helped identify key landmarks so that we could orient ourselves and navigate the area," said ImageCat's Shubharoop Ghosh, transportation systems analyst, who joined Japan's Professor Fumio Yamazaki and Thailand's Dr. Pennung Warnitchai on the expedition.

"By essentially freezing events in time, VIEWS and the imagery helped us reconstruct the site after we returned to our home offices," Ghosh added.

A field report detailing ImageCat's findings is located at:

ImageCat has used QuickBird imagery and the MCEER-funded VIEWS extensively for evaluating disasters, including the Oct. 2004 earthquake in Niigata, Japan; Florida's Aug. 2004 Hurricane Charley and Sept. 2004 Hurricane Ivan; and the Dec. 2003 Bam, Iran earthquake.

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Seismic Network Could Improve Disaster Response
Washington (SPX) Feb 08, 2005
While nothing can undo the devastation from the massive tsunami that recently struck in Southeast Asia, lives can be saved in the future if scientists can rapidly characterize the earthquakes that cause tsunami.

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