RIT imager maps earthquake disaster zone in Haiti

Jan. 29, 2010
January 29, 2010--In the aftermath of the January 12th earthquake that struck Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, scientists from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT; Rochester, NY) are sweeping the leveled city with high-tech environmental imaging integrated into a small aircraft.

January 29, 2010--In the aftermath of the January 12th earthquake that struck Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, scientists from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT; Rochester, NY) are sweeping the leveled city with high-tech environmental imaging integrated into a small aircraft.

Funded by the World Bank, and in collaboration with ImageCat, the five-day flight is meticulously mapping the disaster zone to aid in crisis management and eventual reconstruction of the city. The twin engine Piper Navajo, operated by Kucera International, an Ohio-based aerial mapping company, will fly from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and refuel daily in the Dominican Republic. The plane flies at 3,000 feet over Port-au-Prince and other areas badly hit by the earthquake.

RIT is coupling an imaging system it created for the U.S. Forest Service to detect wildfires using high-resolution color imagery and thermal infrared with Kucera’s LIDAR topographical sensing system. LIDAR makes precise measurements with laser pulses and complements the other modalities in 3-D layered image maps. RIT scientist Jason Faulring is operating the camera system to survey damage, detect fires, chemical spills and surface contamination on lakes or ponds. George Tatalovich and James Bowers are the pilots flying for Kucera International. Bowers is operating the LIDAR sensor operator.

Recovery crews will use the information in the reconstruction of Haiti. RIT is coordinating closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the U.S. Geological Survey and non-governmental organizations that want to make use of this unique data set.

For the complete story from RIT, go to http://www.rit.edu/news/?r=47281.

--Posted by Gail Overton; [email protected]; www.laserfocusworld.com

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