ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
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Articles | Volume IV-2/W5
ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., IV-2/W5, 5–12, 2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/isprs-annals-IV-2-W5-5-2019
ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., IV-2/W5, 5–12, 2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/isprs-annals-IV-2-W5-5-2019

  29 May 2019

29 May 2019

FLOOD-WATER LEVEL ESTIMATION FROM SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES

P. Chaudhary1, S. D’Aronco1, M. Moy de Vitry2, J. P. Leitão2, and J. D. Wegner1 P. Chaudhary et al.
  • 1EcoVision Lab, Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing group, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2Department Urban Water Management, Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Switzerland

Keywords: Object detection, Deep learning, Image segmentation, Flood estimation, Instance segmentation, Flood detection

Abstract. In the event of a flood, being able to build accurate flood level maps is essential for supporting emergency plan operations. In order to build such maps, it is important to collect observations from the disaster area. Social media platforms can be useful sources of information in this case, as people located in the flood area tend to share text and pictures depicting the current situation. Developing an effective and fully automatized method able to retrieve data from social media and extract useful information in real-time is crucial for a quick and proper response to these catastrophic events. In this paper, we propose a method to quantify flood-water from images gathered from social media. If no prior information about the zone where the picture was taken is available, one possible way to estimate the flood level consists of assessing how much the objects appearing in the image are submerged in water. There are various factors that make this task difficult: i) the precise size of the objects appearing in the image might not be known; ii) flood-water appearing in different zones of the image scene might have different height; iii) objects may be only partially visible as they can be submerged in water. In order to solve these problems, we propose a method that first locates selected classes of objects whose sizes are approximately known, then, it leverages this property to estimate the water level. To prove the validity of this approach, we first build a flood-water image dataset, then we use it to train a deep learning model. We finally show the ability of our trained model to recognize objects and at the same time predict correctly flood-water level.