Mapping Tsunami Disaster Impact using Earth Observation Satellites

In the aftermath of catastrophic natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, our society has experienced significant difficulties in assessing disaster impact in the limited amount of time. In recent years, the quality of satellite sensors and access to and use of satellite imagery and services has greatly improved. More and more space agencies have embraced data-sharing policies that facilitate access to archived and up-to-date imagery. We developed to estimate building damage uses high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (TerraSAR-X) data from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The damage function we developed involves the relationship between changes in the sigma nought values of pre- and post event TerraSAR-X data and the damage ratio of washed- away from buildings.


Bringing together state-of-the-art high-performance computing, remote sensing and spatial information sciences, we are establishing a method of real-time tsunami inundation forecasting, damage estimation and mapping to enhance disaster response. We perform a real-time tsunami inundation forecasting with use of high-performance computing platform.  Given the maximum flow depth distribution, we carry on quantitative estimation of the exposed population using census data, and the numbers of damaged structures by applying tsunami fragility curve. After the potential tsunami-affected areas are estimated, the analysis gets focused and moves on to the “detection” phase using remote sensing. tsunami affected area and structural damage. Especially, a semi-automated method to estimate building damage in the tsunami-affected areas is developed using pre- and post-event high-resolution SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) data.  The method is verified through the case studies in the 2011 Tohoku and other recent coastal hazards.


Koshimura, S., Establishing the Advanced Disaster Reduction Management System by Fusion of Real- Time Disaster Simulation and Big Data Assimilation, Journal of Disaster Research, Vol.11 No.2, pp.164- 174, 2016. doi: 10.20965/jdr.2016.p0164

Gokon, H., J. Post, E. Stein, S. Martinis, A. Twele, M. Mück, C. Geiß, S. Koshimura and M. Matsuokam A Method for Detecting

Buildings Destroyed by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Using Multitemporal TerraSAR-X Data, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, IEEE, doi: 10.1109/ LGRS.2015.2392792,  2015.

Gokon, H., S. Koshimura, and M. Matsuoka, Object-Based Method for Estimating Tsunami-Induced Damage Using TerraSAR-X Data, Journal of Disaster Research, Vol.11 No.2, pp.225-235, 2016.


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