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Authors: Piscini, Alessandro* 
Romaniello, Vito* 
Bignami, Christian* 
Stramondo, Salvatore* 
Title: A New Damage Assessment Method by Means of Neural Network and Multi-Sensor Satellite Data
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2017
Series/Report no.: /7 (2017)
DOI: 10.3390/app7080781
Abstract: Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is a valuable and well-established inversion technique for the estimation of geophysical parameters from satellite images. After training, ANNs are able to generate very fast products for several types of applications. Satellite remote sensing is an efficient way to detect and map strong earthquake damage for contributing to post-disaster activities during emergency phases. This work aims at presenting an application of the ANN inversion technique addressed to the evaluation of building collapse ratio (CR), defined as the number of collapsed buildings with respect to the total number of buildings in a city block, by employing optical and SAR satellite data. This is done in order to directly relate changes in images with damage that has occurred during strong earthquakes. Furthermore, once they have been trained, neural networks can be used rapidly at application stage. The goal was to obtain a general tool suitable for re-use in different scenarios. An ANN has been implemented in order to emulate a regression model and to estimate the CR as a continuous function. The adopted ANN has been trained using some features obtained from optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images, as inputs, and the corresponding values of collapse ratio obtained from the survey of the 2010 M7 Haiti Earthquake, i.e., as target output. As regards the optical data, we selected three change parameters: the Normalized Difference Index (NDI), the KullbackÔÇôLeibler divergence (KLD), and Mutual Information (MI). Concerning the SAR images, the Intensity Correlation Difference (ICD) and the KLD parameters have been considered. Exploiting an object-oriented approach, a segmentation of the study area into several regions has been performed. In particular, damage maps have been generated by considering a set of polygons (in which satellite parameters have been calculated) extracted from the open source Open Street Map (OSM) geo-database. The trained ANN has been proposed for the M6.0 Amatrice earthquake that occurred on 24 August 2016, in central Italy, by using the features extracted from Sentinel-2 and COSMO-SkyMed images as input. The results show that the ANN is able to retrieve a building collapse ratio with good accuracy. In particular, the fusion approach modelled the collapse ratio characterized by high values of CR (more than 0.5) over the historical center that agrees with observed damages. Since the technique is independent from different typologies of input data (i.e., for radiometric or spatial resolution characteristics), the study demonstrated the strength of the proposed approach for estimating damaged areas and its importance in near real time monitoring activities, owing to its fast application.
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