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ImageCat Investigates Tsunami Damage Using DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery

ImageCat's team traveled to Thailand and used a portable notebook-based reconnaissance system that links high-resolution QuickBird imagery, digital photographs and digital video footage to a real-time GPS feed.

DigitalGlobe announced that ImageCat Inc. is using DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite imagery to assess damage resulting from the massive Indian Ocean tsunami that was triggered by an earthquake on Dec. 26, killing more than 226,000 people.

On Jan. 7, ImageCat and the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) traveled to Phuket, Thailand with engineers from Japan's Chiba University and Bangkok's Asian Institute of Technology to document and analyze the tsunami damage. In Thailand, more than 5,300 people were killed, important tourist destinations were devastated, and the shrimp industry suffered US$500 million in damage.

The team deployed ImageCat's custom-built Visualizing Impacts of Earthquakes with Satellites (VIEWS), a portable notebook-based reconnaissance system that links high-resolution QuickBird imagery, digital photographs and digital video footage to a real-time GPS feed. The team used 60-centimeter QuickBird imagery collected over Patong Beach in Phuket on Jan. 2, 2005, and for comparison purposes, imagery collected in March 2002.

VIEWS is operated with a digital video recorder and digital camera from either a moving vehicle or on-foot, and produces a permanent visual record of damage.

A field report detailing ImageCat's findings is located at:

ImageCat has used QuickBird imagery and the MCEER-funded VIEWS extensively for evaluating disasters, including the Oct. 2004 earthquake in Niigata, Japan; Florida's Aug. 2004 Hurricane Charley and Sept. 2004 Hurricane Ivan; and the Dec. 2003 Bam, Iran earthquake.

Source: DigitalGlobe, Feb. 7, 2005

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