USAID Transportation Management Project – Tsunami Simulation for Karachi Port Area, Pakistan Using Geospatial Analysis

Tsunami Simulation for Karachi Port Area and Disaster Impact Assessment Using Geospatial Analysis and GIS Mapping, Pakistan-USAID Transportation Management Project.
This coastal disaster simulation study was conducted as a part of the transportation management project for the megacity of Karachi, Pakistan which was funded on the US-side by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)/ United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 2007-2010.

Karachi, Pakistan (map of Karachi Port area)

The partnering institution was trained on geospatial and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications for infrastructure inventory, traffic monitoring, landuse impacts of disasters and other applications. The use of satellite imagery was extensively made to accomplish these applications.

  • Global monitoring is possible for nearly any site on the earth using high resolution satellite imagery at relatively low cost per area in comparison to traditional aerial photography and photogrammetry technologies.
  • The use of GIS databases and geospatial analysis tools are crucial for easy-to-understand visualization of the landuse, wetlands, deforestation, urban growth, inventory and condition data of transportation and public infrastructure assets, and disaster impact assessment.
  • GIS inventory of educational and health centers for planning of emergency management during disasters.
  • GIS visualization of project inventory and monitoring of funds and progress of disaster recovery, infrastructure restoration and rebuilding, and community development projects.

Without proper planning and periodic post-construction condition assessment of infrastructure systems, large scale natural disasters may create negative impacts on the environment, natural cycle of the ecosystem, and communities. To sustain society and public life it is imperative to predict various components of infrastructure failures considering their history of usage and hazards caused by catastrophic disasters. Karachi being located on the Arabian Sea coastline and a megacity with densely populated communities near the port area is especially at risk from storms and tsunami events. The implication can be disastrous for the economy of all of Pakistan due to its industrial outputs and transport of essential commodities from its port through highways and railways to the rest of the country and across the western border to the land locked Afghanistan.

Karachi Port Area, Tsunami Simulation (National Academies/USAID project)

Natural disasters cause billions of dollars in disaster response and recovery, loss of lives, disruptions to public mobility, and catastrophic failure of life line infrastructure assets including roads, bridges, rail network, and other utility infrastructure. A geospatial methodology using non-intrusive 1-m satellite imagery was developed and validated for classifying surfaces of spatial samples from Gulfport, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. The maximum residual error for all surface types by the developed geospatial methodology is < ±7%, with respect to groundtruth, and is significantly more accurate compared to traditional imagery classification methods. The methodology was further used with pre- and post-disaster high resolution multispectral satellite imageries for storm debris and erosion estimate (SDE) from 2005 Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast areas. [caption id="attachment_815" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Karachi Port/Netty Jetty Bridge (National Shipping Corporation building on right included in Tsunami simulation study)"][/caption]
The imagery based geospatial analysis and SDE methodology was calibrated and implemented for a small area near Karachi port on the Arabian Sea coastline to assess the Hurricane Katrina type category-5 storm and flooding of a simulated tsunami or cyclone type coastal disaster. Excellent agreement within ±6% was found for pre-disaster surface classification with manually created planimetrics using 0.6-m QuickBird2 multispectral satellite imagery.

The study area had 59% built-up area and the estimated cost per sq km was about US$3.84 million using the flood damage cost model developed from the Hurricane Katrina study. The methodology provides a visualization of damaged area and GIS-based decision support system for SDE and associated costs. This allows decision makers to plan and implement effective emergency management and recovery operations.

Dr. Uddin’s note: The satellite imagery based geospatial methodology facilitates rapid and accurate assessment of disaster impacts, recovery, and associated costs for coastal and inland flood-prone areas all over the world. My 2009 annual report of this USAID funded University of Mississippi project describes this and other geospatial products developed for Pakistan. The non-intrusive remote sensing methodology is also applicable for evaluating extent of flooding damage and vulnerability of inhabited built-environment and mitigation planning. The geospatial methodology is described in more details in the following papers:

Uddin, W., Wodajo, B., Osborne, K., and White, M. (2009). Expediting Infrastructure Condition Assessment for Disaster Response And Emergency Management Using Remote Sensing Data. Proceedings, MAIRERAV6 International Conference, Torino, Italy July 8-10, 2009.

Uddin, W. (2011). Remote Sensing Laser and Imagery Data for Inventory and Condition Assessment of Road and Airport Infrastructure and GIS Visualization. International Journal of Roads and Airports (IJRA), Vol. 1, No. 1, January 2011, pp. 53-67.

You may be interested to read other posts related to the USAID project (2007-2010):

Urban Transportation Policy for Pakistani Metropolitan Cities

Satellite Imagery Based Mapping of Road Network, Traffic Demand, and GHG Emissions

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