ABSTRACT

The 25 April 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake caused more than 8000 fatalities and widespread building damage in central Nepal. The Italian Space Agency’s COSMO–SkyMed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite acquired data over Kathmandu area four days after the earthquake and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 SAR satellite for larger area nine days after the mainshock. We used these radar observations and rapidly produced damage proxy maps (DPMs) derived from temporal changes in Interferometric SAR coherence. Our DPMs were qualitatively validated through comparison with independent damage analyses by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research’s United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme, and based on our own visual inspection of DigitalGlobe’s WorldView optical pre- versus postevent imagery. Our maps were quickly released to responding agencies and the public, and used for damage assessment, determining inspection/imaging priorities, and reconnaissance fieldwork.

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