13 May 2016 Remote sensing-based detection and quantification of roadway debris following natural disasters
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Rapid knowledge of road network conditions is vital to formulate an efficient emergency response plan following any major disaster. Fallen buildings, immobile vehicles, and other forms of debris often render roads impassable to responders. The status of roadways is generally determined through time and resource heavy methods, such as field surveys and manual interpretation of remotely sensed imagery. Airborne lidar systems provide an alternative, cost-e↵ective option for performing network assessments. The 3D data can be collected quickly over a wide area and provide valuable insight about the geometry and structure of the scene. This paper presents a method for automatically detecting and characterizing debris in roadways using airborne lidar data. Points falling within the road extent are extracted from the point cloud and clustered into individual objects using region growing. Objects are classified as debris or non-debris using surface properties and contextual cues. Debris piles are reconstructed as surfaces using alpha shapes, from which an estimate of debris volume can be computed. Results using real lidar data collected after a natural disaster are presented. Initial results indicate that accurate debris maps can be automatically generated using the proposed method. These debris maps would be an invaluable asset to disaster management and emergency response teams attempting to reach survivors despite a crippled transportation network.
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Colin Axel, Colin Axel, Jan A. N. van Aardt, Jan A. N. van Aardt, Felipe Aros-Vera, Felipe Aros-Vera, José Holguín-Veras, José Holguín-Veras, "Remote sensing-based detection and quantification of roadway debris following natural disasters", Proc. SPIE 9832, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXI, 98320C (13 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2223073; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2223073

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