NASA data and expertise are providing valuable information for the ongoing response to the Aug. 24, 2016, magnitude 6.2 Central Italy earthquake. The quake has caused significant damage in the historic town of Amatrice.
To assist in the disaster response efforts, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), generated this image of the earthquake's hardest-hit region.
The 40-by-75 mile (65-by-120 kilometer) Damage Proxy Map (DPM) was derived from two consecutive frames of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA's) L-band interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data from the ALOS-2 satellite (cyan rectangles), and the 25-by-31 mile (40-by-50 kilometer) DPM was derived from InSAR data from the Agenzia Spaciale Italiana's (ASI's) X-band COSMO-SkyMed satellite (red rectangle). Both DPMs cover the historic town of Amatrice, revealing severe damage in the western side of the town (right panels). The time span of the data for the change is Jan. 27, 2016 to Aug. 24, 2016 for ALOS-2 and Aug. 20, 2016 to Aug. 28, 2016 for COSMO-SkyMed. Each pixel in the damage proxy map is about 100 feet (30 meters) across.
The SAR data were processed by the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at JPL and Caltech. The technique uses a prototype algorithm to rapidly detect surface changes caused by natural or human-produced damage. The assessment technique is most sensitive to destruction of the built environment. When the radar images areas with little to no destruction, its image pixels are transparent. Increased opacity of the radar image pixels reflects damage, with areas in red reflecting the heaviest damage to cities and towns. The color variations from yellow to red indicate increasingly more significant ground surface change. Preliminary validation was done by comparing the DPMs to a damage assessment map produced by the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, which is based on visual inspection of before and after high-resolution aerial imagery -- the extent indicated with gray boxes in the left panel.
ARIA is a JPL- and NASA-funded project being developed by JPL and Caltech. It is building an automated system for providing rapid and reliable GPS and satellite data to support the local, national and international hazard monitoring and response communities. Using space-based imagery of disasters, ARIA data products can provide rapid assessments of the geographic region impacted by a disaster, as well as detailed imaging of the locations where damage occurred.
For more information about ARIA, visit http://aria.jpl.nasa.gov.
The Damage Proxy Maps for display as KMZ files in Google Earth and GeoTiff file for GIS analysis are available at http://aria-share.jpl.nasa.gov//events/20160824-Italy_EQ/DPM/.