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High Resolution Imagery Collection for Post-Disaster Studies Utilizing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)



Stuart M. Adams, Marc L. Levitan, Friedland J. Carol


This paper examines the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to capture imagery for use in post-disaster field studies at the neighborhood and individual building level. Applications of UASs in recent disasters as described in the literature are reviewed, and a case study investigating UAS capabilities for imagery collection following an EF-3 tornado in northern Alabama on March 2, 2012 is presented. Case study considerations include the multi-rotor UAV equipment and ground station, onboard imagery devices, flight considerations and capabilities, and imagery and metadata collection capabilities of the UAS. Sample post-tornado imagery of building damage is shown, demonstrating the order of magnitude improvement in imagery resolution compared to traditional post-disaster aerial photography.
Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing


Unmanned Aircraft System, UAS, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, UAV, Disaster data collection, tornado damage, post-tornado imagery
Created November 19, 2014, Updated November 10, 2018