Inventory system aids research

22 November 2011

The Rapid Inventory Collection System gathering data in the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi.

The Rapid Inventory Collection System
gathering data in the aftermath of
Cyclone Yasi.
© Geoscience Australia

An inventory system used by government to assess community impact following natural disasters has been made publicly available as open source software through creative commons licensing.

Emergency managers, researchers and urban and environmental planners will have improved opportunities to investigate the immediate after effects of natural disasters following the development and public release of the information collection system.

Called the Rapid Inventory Collection System (RICS), the vehicle mounted equipment and associated computer programs have been developed by Geoscience Australia as part of its Earth monitoring and hazards program to evaluate the aftermath of earthquakes and cyclones.

The equipment, including open source software, has been used to gather images in the aftermath of the 2011 Brisbane floods and tropical cyclone Yasi in Queensland. It was also used following earthquakes in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia and Christchurch, New Zealand, and to capture imagery of the Darling River in New South Wales for ecological research.

Following a magnitude five earthquake in Kalgoorlie in 2010, RICS captured 230 000 street view images which were used to conduct a detailed assessment of the impact on more than 400 buildings of various age and design.

A member of Geoscience Australia's Earth Monitoring and Hazards Group, Mark Edwards, said that the data obtained with the Rapid Inventory Collection System will help government planners to minimise risk by developing a better understanding of the vulnerability and retrofit options for buildings and other infrastructure.

"The Rapid Inventory Collection System operates with up to four cameras mounted on a vehicle and connected to a user-friendly, consistent and intuitive computer based interface. It displays the images obtained with relevant GPS data and incorporates a notepad for including comments," Mr Edwards said.

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