Seeing a Better World™

Lending Eyes for Moore Oklahoma

By DigitalGlobe | Published:

As the tornados touched down in Oklahoma a few weeks ago, first responders jumped into action. In support of these brave and motivated people and organizations, DigitalGlobe tasked its satellite constellation to capture imagery of the area as part of its FirstLook service, collecting high resolution panchromatic WorldView-1 satellite imagery as well as color GeoEye-1 imagery.

Upon collection, DigitalGlobe launched its recently acquired Tomnod Crowdsourcing System (TCS) to help extract the information from the image. The Tomnod approach is most powerful in situations where rapid insight is required in order to enable fast decision making. For Moore, Oklahoma we immediately deployed the Tomnod system on the imagery to help convert the plethora of pixels to information.

An email rallied our Tomnod crowd to the new campaign. In addition we sent out the call on Facebook and Twitter and to dedicated groups, such as CrisisMappers. Users that came to the site were given a short tutorial and then asked to view imagery and identify destroyed buildings, tarped roofs, and fallen trees.

Tutorial screen seen by visitors to the deployment

On the backend, we constantly analyze the CrowdRank score of each location and each member of our crowd. CrowdRank is our statistical reliability algorithm that combines the crowd’s inputs to zero-in on the most accurate results. Within 60 minutes, we had collected over 15,000 points of interest and we published our crowdsourced damage assessment map. Based on the crowd inputs, CrowdRank identified the damage areas in Moore within 1 hour!

The damage map below immediately highlights the trail of total destruction left by the tornado [orange]. Just off of the main path of the tornado, we also clearly see the tarped roofs that had been identified [blue] where buildings were partially damaged by high winds or flying debris.

The CrowdRank consensus points showing the clear path of the tornado as well as damage off of the main path. Orange points indicate completely destroyed buildings and blue points indicate damaged/tarped roofs

Our crowdsourcing process is meant to reduce the time between data collection and decisions. Therefore, it is critical to distribute these results quickly and efficiently. Our damage assessment map is immediately available in a variety of formats such as SHP, WFS, and KMZ. In the produced KMZ file we include an image chip of the location that had been damaged accessible in a lightweight package.

Want to get involved? Please sign-up for our latest project – help us find burned buildings for Colorado’s Black Forest Fire.


2 Responses to Lending Eyes for Moore Oklahoma

Debashish Bose says: July 11, 2013 at 1:33 am

Dear Sir,

You would be aware of the catastrophic flash-flood and landslides which happened
during June 15-17th in the state of Uttarakhand in India. Thousands have died and
as I write here after 3 weeks, many villages are cut off and authorities have no
clue about their whereabouts. Not only the Govt has no clue about the number
of people who died, different arms of the Govt agencies involved in rescue relief
operations give estimates which rages from 600 to 10,000. Would it be possible
for you to do a search campaign for you to find the extent of damage ? And may be
if we are lucky find out and rescue stranded villagers and pilgrims. Would be
highly obliged if you consider this plea seriously.

Thanking you,

Debashish Bose

Post Doctoral Fellow

Theoretical Statistics and Mathematics Unit
Indian Statistical Institute
7, S.J.S. Sansanwal Marg
New Delhi 110 016, India
E-mail: dbosenow@gmail

ckd says: June 28, 2013 at 7:37 am

Congratulations on having one of the most sophisticated blogs Ive arrive across in some time! Its just incredible how very much you can take away from anything simply because of how visually beautiful it is. Youve put with each other a fantastic weblog space

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