Localizing and quantifying infrastructure damage using class activation mapping approaches

  • Xukun Li
  • Doina CarageaEmail author
  • Huaiyu Zhang
  • Muhammad Imran
Original Article


Traditional post-disaster assessment of damage heavily relies on expensive geographic information system (GIS) data, especially remote sensing image data. In recent years, social media have become a rich source of disaster information that may be useful in assessing damage at a lower cost. Such information includes text (e.g., tweets) or images posted by eyewitnesses of a disaster. Most of the existing research explores the use of text in identifying situational awareness information useful for disaster response teams. The use of social media images to assess disaster damage is limited. We have recently proposed a novel approach, based on convolutional neural networks and class activation mapping, to locate building damage in a disaster image and to quantify the degree of the damage. In this paper, we study the usefulness of the proposed approach for other categories of infrastructure damage, specifically bridge and road damage, and compare two-class activation mapping approaches in this context. Experimental results show that our proposed approach enables the use of social network images for post-disaster infrastructure damage assessment and provides an inexpensive and feasible alternative to the more expensive GIS approach.


Image analysis Convolutional neural networks (CNN) Class activation mapping (CAM) approaches Damage localization Bridge, building, and road damage 



The computing for this project was performed using Amazon Web Services (AWS). We thank the National Science Foundation and Amazon Web Services for support from Grant IIS-1741345, which enabled the research and the computation in this study. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either express or implied, of the National Science Foundation or AWS.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  3. 3.Qatar Computing Research InstituteHamad Bin Khalifa UniversityDohaQatar

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