POTENTIAL OF GEOLOCATED CROWDSOURCED IMAGE POSTS IN PREDICTING AN EARLY ESTIMATE OF THE PATTERNS OF STRUCTURAL DAMAGE FOLLOWING A HURRICANE
Keywords: Spatial analysis, social media, crowdsourcing, crisis mapping, disaster, emergency management, hurricane, building damage assessment
Abstract. During a disaster, the activity of the crowd represents a very valuable source of the on-the-ground conditions shared by the affected citizens. The approach, presented in the paper, explores the relationship between the spatial distribution of crowdsourced image posts and damaged buildings in order to understand the potential of modelling the spatial distribution of damaged buildings based on geolocated images. The posts related to the hurricane Michael that happened in the United States in October 2018, showing the building damage of Panama City, have been collected by NAPSG Foundation and GISCorps volunteers. The building damage assessment, based on the analysis of high-resolution post-event imagery, has been performed by FEMA. Exploring the two available independent point datasets, the spatial pattern of each individual dataset has been analysed and furthermore the spatial relationship between them has been explored. A set of spatial statistics has been performed with R software. For this purpose, the distance-based methods have been used, that consider the mutual position of points to describe the patterns. The results shown the spatial relationship between the crowdsourced photos and different damage types. Furthermore, potential of crowdsourced images for improving the awareness of the structural damage after the hurricane have been discussed.