NASA releases satellite damage map of Camp Fire

November 26, 2018  - By 0 Comments

The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena has produced a map showing the damage caused by the Camp Fire in Northern California.

After two and a half weeks of historic destruction, the fire is now 100 percent contained. Teams continue to search the destruction — including the destroyed town of Paradise — for remains. As of Sunday, the death toll is 85, making it California’s deadliest fire.

The map shows the damage as of Nov. 16.

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The map was developed using synthetic aperture radar images from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites operated by the European Space Agency.

The map covers an area of 48 miles by 48 miles (78 by 77 kilometers), outlined in red on left. A closeup view of damage to the town of Paradise is inset on right, outlined in white. The color variation from yellow to red indicates increasingly more significant changes in the ground surface.

The ARIA team creates its maps by comparing before-and-after satellite images of the fire region to see the extent of change between the two images. For this map, they compared the data for the image to a Cal Fire map for preliminary validation.

Although the maps may be less reliable over vegetated terrain, such as forests, they can help officials and first responders identify heavily damaged areas and allocate resources as needed.

Sentinel-1 data were accessed through the Copernicus Open Access Hub. The image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by ESA and analyzed by the NASA-JPL/Caltech ARIA team.

Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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