Satellite Images reveal destruction from Nepal Earthquake – Updated

Satellite Images reveal destruction from Nepal Earthquake – Updated

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The 2015 Nepal Earth Quake which stuck the capital Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal, and had the tremors felt over major parts of North India had a major blow to the citizens of the country.

As new started to flow in on the raise of death toll and the amount of disaster, mapping community has started to act on the process of mapping the disaster. Before we look in to the activities that are happening, look in to the below two images that show you the destruction.

Images of earthquake destruction from Kathmandu – Courtesy of Digital Globe

In response to the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck central Nepal on April 25, DigitalGlobe on 28 April, has made high resolution satellite imagery of the affected areas freely available online to all groups involved in the response and recovery effort through the company’s FirstLook initiative. Below are some images from Kathmandu, Nepal that we have exclusively received.

 

Tundikhel area from Kathmandu, Nepal as seen on 25 October, 2014
Tundikhel area from Kathmandu, Nepal as seen on 25 October, 2014
Tundikhel area from Kathmandu, Nepal as seen on 27 April, 2015. Relief camps after the earthquake are seen.
Tundikhel area from Kathmandu, Nepal as seen on 27 April, 2015. Relief camps after the earthquake are seen.
Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu Nepal as seen from DigitalGlobe WorldView-3 on 25-October-2014
Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu Nepal as seen from DigitalGlobe WorldView-3 on 25-October-2014
Kathmandu's Historic Dharahara Tower Reduced to Rubble as seen from DigitalGlobe WorldView-3 on 27-April-2015
Kathmandu’s Historic Dharahara Tower Reduced to Rubble as seen from DigitalGlobe WorldView-3 on 27-April-2015
Nepal's Kathmandu valley treasure- Vatsala Durge Temple area before earthquake. Dated: 25 October 2014
Nepal’s Kathmandu valley treasure- Vatsala Durge Temple area before earthquake. Dated: 25 October 2014
Nepal's Kathmandu valley treasure- Vatsala Durge Temple after earthquake. Dated: 27 April 2015
Nepal’s Kathmandu valley treasure- Vatsala Durge Temple after earthquake. Dated: 27 April 2015

Images from Rural area of Nepal (Location Unknown)

These images from the rural part of Nepal, show us the destruction the earthquake to houses and crops, caused majorly by landslide in this unidentified area. These images are from the Tomnod initiative to identify the buildings,houses, roads and other major destructions that happened due to the Nepal Earthquake.

01-a-old-Tomnod-compressor
In this image you can see the river flowing in in the left. To extreme left are irrigated areas and houses. This image is from 2014. Courtesy: Tomnod-DigitalGlobe
 In this image you can see the river area having major damage. To extreme left are irrigated areas and houses which are majorly/ completely damaged from the earthquake.
In this image you can see the river area having major damage. To extreme left are irrigated areas and houses which are majorly/ completely damaged from the earthquake.Courtesy: Tomnod-DigitalGlobe

Projects working on mapping the Nepal Earthquake disaster

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) – Nepal Response

The HOT team has activated a project based on Open StreetMap (Read the Nepal Earthquake Wiki page here) along with Kathmandu Living Labs team. They are now mapping major roads, buildings that got damaged in the Nepal earthquake. According to the HOT blog, the identified areas that got majorly affected are as below:

  1. Outskirts of Kathmandu Valley: (https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/4583125#map=13/27.7179/85.3337).North, east and north-east of the valley.
  2. Lamjung District : ( https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/4588153 )
  3. The major residential area in this district is Besisahar (https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=12/28.2271/84.3777 )
  4. Nuwakot District : https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/4583250
  5. Gorkha District: https://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=27.9996&mlon=84.6235#map=14/27.9997/84.6235
  6. https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/4583249#map=10/28.0041/84.9490
Nepal Earthquake, 2015, Road Network update- task overview
Nepal Earthquake, 2015, Road Network update- task overview. Credits: HOT OSM Tasking Manager

Visit this HOT blog on Nepal Earthquake activities, to have an updated list on the active tasks related to the mapping help needed by the on-ground volunteers.

Tomnod – 7.8 Earthquake hits Nepal project

Tomnod has activated the mapping project to identify disaster from Nepal earthquake
Tomnod has activated the mapping project to identify disaster from Nepal earthquake

Tomnod has activated a project for mapping the earthquake in Nepal. It’s website states “Help disaster response teams by mapping damage from the recent deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit near Kathmandu, Nepal. Start by comparing before and after imagery and placing a tag in the center of every damaged building, damaged road and area of major destruction you find. To compare before and after imagery, press the “Q” and “W” keys on your keyboard or click the “Newest” and “Oldest” buttons in the bottom right corner of the map.

The aim is to identify Damaged Buildings and Roads and other Major Destruction as a result of the Nepal earthquake. The satellite images, as shown above are from 26 April, 2015 after the earthquake has happened. One great news is that Tomnod has released an image for a very large area of interest.

Challenge in identifying mapping the damage from Nepal earthquake

However, the major challenge that I saw was that random mapping in unknown areas would be of less help. As the area is pretty large, it would be really useful, if we can concentrate on specific areas as identified by HOT and Kathmandu Living Labs teams, and then quickly identify the damages. This improvement from Tomnod, will really help.

Also, the difference in scale and spectral and spatial resolution of images is causing a major problem. Lack of any eminent zoom function is limiting the identification of damage in some areas.