Rapid Aerial Assessment of Post Incident Damage for Enhanced Situational Awareness

Stouch, D.

Proceedings of the 2014 Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters (CRSCAD) International Conference on Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Sustainable Reconstruction: Science and Technology Applications to Mitigate Natural Hazards, Boston, MA (May 2014)

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and forest fires have the potential to create great loss of life and property. Responding to these incidents is a complex process involving many resources over extended time periods. Determining the number of people and amount of critical infrastructure affected immediately following an incident is essential to coordinate an effective response plan. Developing a baseline understanding of the location and condition of public property and critical infrastructure before an incident is an essential part of this process. Because initial reports of disaster damage are often inaccurate, response planners do not typically receive accurate assessments until airborne impact assessment teams move into isolated areas. Combining airborne surveillance assets with intelligent route planning algorithms and advanced computer vision techniques to process the imagery provides the capability to provide responders with faster, better information to accurately compare with pre-incident baselines. Airborne teams such as Civil Air Patrol aircrews or government-owned unmanned aerial vehicles can collect the initial imagery, and later update it as situations warrant. This will support faster and more accurate disaster assessments to help direct valuable assets to the most impacted areas, potentially saving lives and critical infrastructure.

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