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Long Beach, CA, United States

Eguchi R.T.,ImageCat Inc.
Natural Hazards | Year: 2013

Disaster experts around the world have continually warned governments and the public about the possibility of "worst-case" natural hazard scenarios and their overwhelming impacts. Yet, planning for the occurrence of these events has fallen far short of need. The large earthquake that occurred off the coast of Sumatra in 2004, which resulted in one of the deadliest tsunamis ever recorded, was a painful reminder that living in some of the most desirable areas of the world does have its risks. We all have enjoyed the fun of restful visits to coastal resort communities all around the world, and we rarely think about earthquakes or tsunamis interfering with this enjoyment. Yet, they take us by surprise. Before these events do occur, there should be adequate education for everyone on what actions are appropriate as well as an effective warning system to trigger the right actions. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Booth E.,Edmund Booth Consulting Engineer | Saito K.,Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd. | Spence R.,Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd. | Madabhushi G.,Trumpington Street | Eguchi R.T.,ImageCat Inc.
Earthquake Spectra | Year: 2011

Assessments of damage following the 2010 Haitian earthquake were validated by comparing three datasets. The first, for 107,000 buildings, used vertical aerial images with a 15-25 cm spatial resolution. The second, for 1,241 buildings, used Pictometry images (oblique angle shots with a resolution of about 10 cm taken in four directions by aircraft). The third dataset, for 142 buildings, used ground observations. The ground observations confirmed the tendency of remote sensing to underestimate the proportion of heavily damaged and collapsed buildings, and the difficulty of making remote assessments of moderate or low damage. Bayesian statistics and sample surveys made from Pictometry images and ground observations were used to improve remote damage assessments from vertical images. The possibility of developing standard factors to correct remote assessments is discussed. The field exercise pointed to the need to produce an internationally agreed-upon set of damage definitions, suitable for postdisaster needs assessments as well as for other uses. © 2011, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.

Rose A.,University of Southern California | Huyck C.K.,ImageCat Inc.
Risk Analysis | Year: 2016

While catastrophe (CAT) modeling of property damage is well developed, modeling of business interruption (BI) lags far behind. One reason is the crude nature of functional relationships in CAT models that translate property damage into BI. Another is that estimating BI losses is more complicated because it depends greatly on public and private decisions during recovery with respect to resilience tactics that dampen losses by using remaining resources more efficiently to maintain business function and to recover more quickly. This article proposes a framework for improving hazard loss estimation for BI insurance needs. Improved data collection that allows for analysis at the level of individual facilities within a company can improve matching the facilities with the effectiveness of individual forms of resilience, such as accessing inventories, relocating operations, and accelerating repair, and can therefore improve estimation accuracy. We then illustrate the difference this can make in a case study example of losses from a hurricane. © 2016 Society for Risk Analysis.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 50.00K | Year: 2015

Water is a critical resource and a lifeline service to communities worldwide; the generation, treatment, distribution and maintenance of water workflows is typically managed by local governments and water districts. Recent events such as water supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the looming California drought crisis clearly indicate societys dependence on critical lifeline services such as water and the far-reaching impacts that its disruption can cause. Over the years, these critical infrastructures have become more complex and often more vulnerable to failures. The ability to view water workflows as a community wide cyber-physical system (CPS) with multiple levels of observation/control and diverse players (suppliers, distributors, consumers) presents new possibilities. Designing robust water systems involves a clear understanding of the structure, components and operation of this CPS system and how community infrastructure dynamics (e.g. varying demands, small/large disruptions) impact lifeline service availabilities and how service level decisions impact infrastructure control.

The proposal emphasizes a new approach to exploring engineering systems that will result in substantial advances in the understanding of lifeline systems and approaches to make them adaptive and resilient. Building resilience into urban lifelines raises a number of monumental challenges including identifying the aspects of systems that can be observed/sensed and adapted and to developing general principles that can guide adaptation. The key idea is to develop methodologies to understand operational performance and resilience issues for real-world community water infrastructures and explore solutions to problems in cyberspace before instantiating them into a physical infrastructure. The effort includes: 1) Developing a flexible modeling framework that captures system needs at multiple levels of temporal and spatial abstraction; 2) Developing real-time algorithms supporting resilience; 3) Designing adaptations for water systems using a data-driven approach; and 4) Demonstrating the important broader impact of the research on critical water system infrastructure at the Global City Technology Challenge and the longer term impact on infrastructure for a resilient control framework.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 42.02K | Year: 2011

This Grant for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) project seeks to understand the relationship between urban development patterns and the extent of physical damage caused by widespread tsunami run up. The 11 March 2011 Tohoku, Japan earthquake caused significant damage all along the northeastern coast of Japan. In order to understand how the built environment can affect the performance of communities in a tsunami, the project will study at least nine communities in the Miyagi/Chiba/Ibaraki Prefectures ¨C areas ranging from minor to moderate damage to complete devastation. The central research question is: Can the urban topology of a community mitigate the effects of a tsunami by isolating the more damaging surge effects to a few well designed and well placed buildings, thus limiting damage to protected buildings to just rising water effects. The main objectives of this study are: 1) to perform field studies to collect perishable data on coastal community performance following the Tohoku earthquake, 2) to develop an understanding of the data landscape in post earthquake Japan, and 3) to develop a preliminary understanding of the role that urban development patterns played in either mitigating or exacerbating tsunami induced impacts.

This project will gather new information to systematically and comprehensively assess the effect that urban development patterns have in mitigating or exacerbating the effects of tsunamis. Such information would complement current studies that focus only on the performance of individual structures, i.e., not on the performance of communities. This information can also provide an important reference point for any future studies on long term recovery in Japan by documenting the initial damage states of representative communities along the coast of Japan. In addition to data collection, this project will explore new methods of performing rapid damage assessment using distributed visual analytics and crowd sourcing, and high resolution aerial and satellite imagery; these methods can be vital in situations where immediate field access is not possible or damage is widespread (as was the case in the Tohoku earthquake). Furthermore, the knowledge gained in this study will help to inform future tsunami loss modeling activities by introducing community based parameters that can either enhance or exacerbate the direct effects of an earthquake. The results of this study will also enforce the notion that resilience should be viewed at a community level in order to minimize the socioeconomic impacts of large disasters. The knowledge gained from this study will help to improve regional preparedness plans for many coastal areas, including the west coast of the United States, which also experienced significant damage in the Tohoku earthquake.

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