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NASA damage maps can help future quakes

US: A team of researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have developed a method of creating maps of areas that got damaged in earthquakes. The method can be proved useful for saving lives in future. If implemented, it can help the authorities to quickly assess and communicate about the hardest-hit areas and likewise, they can prioritize the regions or communities that have the greatest need for first-response teams. The map will provide the govt an overview of the damage and its magnitude.

This method works even if the satellite images are taken at night or when skies are cloudy. They recently published the results of using this new approach, to study impacts of the Gorkha earthquake, in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

"Our mapping system shows great potential, especially for isolated remote areas where there is no communication and the roads are blocked. Those are the communities in desperate need of help, and our maps could help responders provide efficient assistance," said Yun, who‘s leading the team of researchers.

Yun explains the technology that helped his team to create the maps: "Synthetic Aperture Radar," or SAR, a technology that allows for detailed radar imaging from space without an extremely large antenna. Like a real-aperture radar system, a SAR satellite transmits microwave signals that are reflected by Earth's surface, and those reflections produce radar images.

Source: NASA