Population Health

December 19, 2018

UW NSF-funded center gathers disaster related data

Visiting researchers learn how to operate the BLK360, a lightweight, highly accurate close range laser scanner used to capture 3D point cloud and imagery dataThe University of Washington’s Natural Hazards Reconnaissance Experimental Facility launched earlier this fall with the goal of developing more resilient communities through the collection, assessment and archiving of high-quality perishable data in the aftermath of disasters. The center, which is headquartered in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, is the first of its kind in the world.

Center staff will equip researchers with tools and equipment for gathering perishable data that goes away quickly during clean up of an area. As a result, the reconnaissance teams typically arrive on site within one to two weeks of a disaster after the immediate rescue response is complete.

Collecting high quality data about damage and other impacts caused by natural hazards allows researchers to gain insights that help inform the development of more resilient communities. For example, the impact of natural hazards can inform updates to building codes or plan for coastal developments.

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