Groundtruthing OpenStreetMap building damage assessment

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To gauge the accuracy of the crowd-sourced damage assessments in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, REACH and the American Red Cross conducted a study comparing enumerated field damage assessments with the remote damage assessments conducted by the OpenStreetMap community. The potential utility of remote sensing imagery and rapid GIS-based mapping in humanitarian responses relies on the accuracy of these techniques. Recent studies from other emergencies have questioned the current capacity of these tools to deliver the levels of accuracy needed, but have acknowledged that these levels can be improved with further research, development and standardization for the humanitarian context. This assessment sought to address some of these questions of accuracy by comparing remote damage assessment findings with field-level damage assessments and to identify any differences in accuracy. The assessment also aimed to assess the ability of crowd-sourced platforms to go beyond providing only base data by creating information about building-level damage. The conclusions and recommendations are intended to inform contributors and developers of crowd-source platforms as well as the humanitarian community at large, contributing to a dialogue about the how to capitalize on the present tools and improve the way in which they are used in humanitarian settings.




Westrope, C., Banick, R., & Levine, M. (2014). Groundtruthing OpenStreetMap building damage assessment. In Procedia Engineering (Vol. 78, pp. 29–39). Elsevier Ltd.

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