Incidental terrestrial imagery for post disaster spatial data capture of debris flows

Consumer-grade digital imagery captured by non-experts has a great potential for DEM extraction. The portability of the equipment creates opportunities for data collection in difficult and inaccessible mountainous terrain. In this context it provides an important tool enabling rapid response post-disaster planning in regions affected by large scale natural hazard events. The potential of this methodology is illustrated by a case study of the large scale debris flow that killed several thousand people in the town of Zhouqu, China in August 2010. The case study briefly introduces the pertinent details of the debris flow event. Data collection, processing and representations are highlighted. It is concluded that the methodology can be beneficial for post-disaster planning, and that the relatively cheap instrument requirements and simple methodologies also provide an opportunity to involve local residents and municipal authorities for landscape monitoring in active terrains.