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Volume 18, issue 6 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1583-1598, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Jun 2018

Research article | 08 Jun 2018

Usability of aerial video footage for 3-D scene reconstruction and structural damage assessment

Johnny Cusicanqui, Norman Kerle, and Francesco Nex Johnny Cusicanqui et al.
  • Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands

Abstract. Remote sensing has evolved into the most efficient approach to assess post-disaster structural damage, in extensively affected areas through the use of spaceborne data. For smaller, and in particular, complex urban disaster scenes, multi-perspective aerial imagery obtained with unmanned aerial vehicles and derived dense color 3-D models are increasingly being used. These type of data allow the direct and automated recognition of damage-related features, supporting an effective post-disaster structural damage assessment. However, the rapid collection and sharing of multi-perspective aerial imagery is still limited due to tight or lacking regulations and legal frameworks. A potential alternative is aerial video footage, which is typically acquired and shared by civil protection institutions or news media and which tends to be the first type of airborne data available. Nevertheless, inherent artifacts and the lack of suitable processing means have long limited its potential use in structural damage assessment and other post-disaster activities. In this research the usability of modern aerial video data was evaluated based on a comparative quality and application analysis of video data and multi-perspective imagery (photos), and their derivative 3-D point clouds created using current photogrammetric techniques. Additionally, the effects of external factors, such as topography and the presence of smoke and moving objects, were determined by analyzing two different earthquake-affected sites: Tainan (Taiwan) and Pescara del Tronto (Italy). Results demonstrated similar usabilities for video and photos. This is shown by the short 2cm of difference between the accuracies of video- and photo-based 3-D point clouds. Despite the low video resolution, the usability of these data was compensated for by a small ground sampling distance. Instead of video characteristics, low quality and application resulted from non-data-related factors, such as changes in the scene, lack of texture, or moving objects. We conclude that not only are current video data more rapidly available than photos, but they also have a comparable ability to assist in image-based structural damage assessment and other post-disaster activities.

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Short summary
Aerial multi-perspective images can be used for the effective assessment of post-disaster structural damage. Alternatively, rapidly available video data can be processed for the same purpose. However, video quality characteristics are different than those of images taken with still cameras. The use of video data in post-disaster damage assessment has not been demonstrated. Based on a comparative assessment, our findings support the application of video data in post-disaster damage assessment.
Aerial multi-perspective images can be used for the effective assessment of post-disaster...