Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Satellite-based emergency mapping using optical imagery: experience and reflections from the 2015 Nepal earthquakes

Williams, J.G.; Rosser, N.J.; Kincey, M.E.; Benjamin, J.; Oven, K.J.; Densmore, A.L.; Milledge, D.G.; Robinson, T.R.; Jordan, C.A.; Dijkstra, T.A.

Satellite-based emergency mapping using optical imagery: experience and reflections from the 2015 Nepal earthquakes Thumbnail


Authors

J.G. Williams

Profile Image

Mark Kincey m.e.kincey@durham.ac.uk
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

J. Benjamin

K.J. Oven

D.G. Milledge

T.R. Robinson

C.A. Jordan

T.A. Dijkstra



Abstract

Landslides triggered by large earthquakes in mountainous regions contribute significantly to overall earthquake losses and pose a major secondary hazard that can persist for months or years. While scientific investigations of coseismic landsliding are increasingly common, there is no protocol for rapid (hours-to-days) humanitarian-facing landslide assessment and no published recognition of what is possible and what is useful to compile immediately after the event. Drawing on the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal, we consider how quickly a landslide assessment based upon manual satellite-based emergency mapping (SEM) can be realistically achieved and review the decisions taken by analysts to ascertain the timeliness and type of useful information that can be generated. We find that, at present, many forms of landslide assessment are too slow to generate relative to the speed of a humanitarian response, despite increasingly rapid access to high-quality imagery. Importantly, the value of information on landslides evolves rapidly as a disaster response develops, so identifying the purpose, timescales, and end users of a post-earthquake landslide assessment is essential to inform the approach taken. It is clear that discussions are needed on the form and timing of landslide assessments, and how best to present and share this information, before rather than after an earthquake strikes. In this paper, we share the lessons learned from the Gorkha earthquake, with the aim of informing the approach taken by scientists to understand the evolving landslide hazard in future events and the expectations of the humanitarian community involved in disaster response.

Citation

Williams, J., Rosser, N., Kincey, M., Benjamin, J., Oven, K., Densmore, A., …Dijkstra, T. (2018). Satellite-based emergency mapping using optical imagery: experience and reflections from the 2015 Nepal earthquakes. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 18, 185-205. https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-185-2018

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 8, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 16, 2018
Publication Date Jan 16, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 8, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jan 17, 2018
Journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Print ISSN 1561-8633
Electronic ISSN 1684-9981
Publisher European Geosciences Union
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Pages 185-205
DOI https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-185-2018
Keywords Coseismic landslides, Satellite-based emergency mapping, Landslide mapping, Disaster response.

Files







You might also like



Downloadable Citations