Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor in Geography, University of Tarbiat Modarres, Iran

2 Associated professor in Geography, University of Zanjan, Iran

3 Msc in remote sensing and GIS, University of Tarbiat Modarres, Iran


Extended Abstract
 Due to the large dimensions of earthquake damages and losses, more rapid procedures are required to identify damaged buildings. Field studies and old procedures are no longer efficient enough because of being time consuming, costly and requiring lots of workforce. This research seeks to identify the buildings damaged by earthquakes through analyzing the spectral response of urban houses to the reflective bands and effective factors, before and after the earthquake, for recognizing buildings damaged in the earthquake and compare the results of the reflective bands with each other, and then, determine the most efficient band among them. The earthquake stricken city of Bam was selected as the case study of this research. In order to identify the damaged urban houses, satellite imagery and remote sensing reflective bands were considered for detecting the changes, distinguishing the bands, and analyzing the spectral reflection profile.
Materials and Methods
 The high resolution Quick bird satellite, photographed the city of Bam just eight days after the earthquake on January 3, 2004. The satellite also had taken a clear image of Bam about three months before the earthquake on September 30, 2003, that, with regard to the objectives of the research and the capabilities of the images taken, these Quick Bird satellite images were selected to study and investigate in this field. The method of this research is to analyze the spectral reflection profile and the factors affecting it. Since the multi-spectral remote sensing is a set of reflective, emissive or backscattering energy from the study area in electromagnetic multi-spectral bands, the aim of this research is to describe why terrestrial phenomena show different responses to the electromagnetic spectrum, and to analyze their spectral curve as well. To this end, we established an analytical strategy to achieve a better interpretation of the blue (band 1: 450 - 520 nm), green (band 2: 520 - 600 nm), red (band 3: 630 - 690 nm), and infrared (band 4: 760 - 900 nm) reflective bands. And the earthquake stricken city of Bam was selected as the case study of this research in order to identify the damaged urban houses by analyzing the spectral reflection profile and factors affecting it.
Results and Discussion
Urban housing is composed of various materials (concrete, asphalt, metal, plastic and soil) by man in various ways for building houses. When earthquake strikes, these houses might be destroyed. Therefore, satellite multi-temporal images before and after the earthquake were selected as data for analyzing the electromagnetic spectrum curve of the study area. In this research, the vulnerability of urban houses is different from one place to another. Therefore, educational samples of the case study from different parts of the city such as those which have been completely destroyed, partially destroyed or have remained intact, were selected. Then, the spectral response analysis of the urban houses was carried out in 4 blue (band 1: 450 - 520 nm) green (band 2: 520 - 600 nm) red (band 3: 630 - 690 nm) and Infrared (band 4: 760 - 900 nm) reflective bands before and after the earthquake in order to identify effective factors and the bands independent of these factors comparing with other bands. The results show that, before the earthquake occurs, some factors such as shadows cause a sharp decrease in the reflection in all bands, the atmospheric scattering at short wavelengths with increasing spectral reflection, the angle of sunshine, type of material, the surface smoothness or roughness of the surface, the time of the day, the height and texture had a great impact on the 3 blue, green and red reflective bands. Infrared band with a rectangular shape in spectral curve is a band independent of the aforementioned factors (with the exception of the shadow and surface smoothness of the materials).
The results obtained from analyzing the spectral response of the urban houses in four reflective bands (Blue, Green, Red and Infrared) indicated that in general, the urban houses had high reflection and shadows had less reflection before the earthquake. After the earthquake, urban houses showed an irregular and significant reduction in spectral reflection, and the spectral reflection curve was irregular as well. However, the method of analyzing the spectral reflection profile is a point estimation method and does not result in a map, and this method is often used to check the accuracy of other methods.


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