Engineers get new at look hurricane damage

Jan. 31, 2013 at 8:05 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. engineers say infrared and ultraviolet images can help generate detailed maps of Hurricane Sandy damage to aid workers engaged in recovery and rebuilding.

Engineers from Drexel University in Philadelphia said a combination of images from satellites and remote controlled aircraft and cameras equipped with infrared and ultraviolet technology can paint a detailed picture of Sandy's path of destruction that could help emergency workers respond to the next natural disaster.

"During Hurricane Sandy, 7.5 million power outages were reported and thousands of people were still without power weeks after the hurricane," Drexel engineering Professor Anu Pradham said.

"This is due to the massive destruction, [and] it's difficult to see the full scope of it by walking through the sites; we need a broader picture that shows the various layers of damage both seen and unseen," he said in a university release Thursday.

Infrared and ultraviolet imaging technology combined with other testing can reveal damages to power lines, trees, telephone poles and buildings that appeared to be untouched by the storm, the researchers said.

"Infrared and ultraviolet cameras can capture radiation that is not visible to the naked eye," engineer Ivan Bartoli said. "Different anomalies in power lines can be observed using IR/UV imaging; in the future, using a combination of high resolution satellite images and close-range aerial photography with IR/UV filters, we could determine which power lines are working and which are damaged."

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