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Using satellite sensors to detect urban damage and other surface changes due to earthquakes is gaining increasing interest. Optical images at different resolutions and radar images represent useful tools for this application, particularly when more frequent revisit times will be available with the implementation of new missions and future possible constellations of satellites. Very high resolution (VHR) images (on the order of 1 m or less) may provide information at the scale of a single building, whereas images at resolutions on the order of tens of meters may give indications of damage levels at a district scale. Both types of information may be extremely important if provided with sufficient timeliness to rescue teams. The earthquake that hit the city of Bam, Iran, has been taken as a test case, where QuickBird VHR optical images and advanced synthetic aperture radar data were available both before and after the event. Methods to process these data in order to detect damage and to extract features used to estimate damage levels are investigated in this paper, pointing out the significant potential of these satellite data and their possible synergy.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:47 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2009