Low-Cost Structure from Motion Techniques for Studying Earthquake Faults

Project: Research project

Project Details


Abstract We propose to explore low-cost means of acquiring fault zone topography by flying a remote-controlled multicopter with digital camera over targeted fault reaches (i.ehttp://3drobotics.com/iris/). High-resolution (sub-decimeter) structure from motion (SfM) topography will be generated using tightly overlapping photo sequences. Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) and point cloud data from LiDAR measurements are proving very useful for studying earthquake faults and fault zone processes. Data are available to scientists through OpenTopography.org, a joint San Diego Supercomputer Center and Arizona State University project. We will 1) acquire the multicopter and camera system; 2) conduct test flights over fault zones, such as the Carrizo Plain segment of the San Andreas fault; 3) process the data to produce point clouds and DEMs; 4) assess the effectiveness of such a system for cost and accessibility for studying earthquake fault zones and processes, particularly for post-event response. We will choose fault reaches with existing LiDAR coverage and compare our results with datasets that have been previously ground-truthed. Donnellan and Arrowsmith will oversee the project and in particular will select appropriate field locations. Bruce Bills will oversee the selection of the multicopter and camera system. The student will be responsible for data collection, processing, and analysis. Joe Greens primary responsibility will be oversight and guidance of the data analysis.
Effective start/end date10/30/149/30/15


  • National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA): $17,378.00


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