We develop an integrated digital imaging analysis approach to produce a first-approximation site characterization map for Islamabad, Pakistan, based on remote-sensing data. We apply both pixel-based and object-oriented digital imaging analysis methods to characterize detailed (1:50,000) geomorphology and geology from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) satellite imagery. We use stereo-correlated relative digital elevation models (rDEMs) derived from ASTER data, as well as spectra in the visible near-infrared (VNIR) to thermal infrared (TIR) domains. The resulting geomorphic units in the study area are classified as mountain (including the Margala Hills and the Khairi Murat Ridge), piedmont, and basin terrain units. The local geologic units are classified as limestone in the Margala Hills and the Khairi Murat Ridge and sandstone rock types for the piedmonts and basins. Shear-wave velocities for these units are assigned in ranges based on established correlations in California. These ranges include Vs30-values to be greater than 500 m/sec for mountain units, 200–600 m/sec for piedmont units, and less than 300 m/sec for basin units. While the resulting map provides the basis for incorporating site response in an assessment of seismic hazard for Islamabad, it also demonstrates the potential use of remote-sensing data for site characterization in regions where only limited conventional mapping has been done.

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