Deep Learning-Based Damage Mapping With InSAR Coherence Time Series

Publication type

Journal Article


Satellite remote sensing is playing an increasing role in the rapid mapping of damage after natural disasters. In particular, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) can image the Earth's surface and map damage in all weather conditions, day and night. However, current SAR damage mapping methods struggle to separate damage from other changes in the Earth's surface. In this study, we propose a novel approach to damage mapping, combining deep learning with the full time history of SAR observations of an impacted region in order to detect anomalous variations in the Earth's surface properties due to a natural disaster. We quantify Earth surface change using time series of interferometric SAR coherence, then use a recurrent neural network (RNN) as a probabilistic anomaly detector on these coherence time series. The RNN is first trained on pre-event coherence time series, and then forecasts a probability distribution of the coherence between pre- and post-event SAR images. The difference between the forecast and observed co-event coherence provides a measure of confidence in the identification of damage. The method allows the user to choose a damage detection threshold that is customized for each location, based on the local behavior of coherence through time before the event. We apply this method to calculate estimates of damage for three earthquakes using multiyear time series of Sentinel-1 SAR acquisitions. Our approach shows good agreement with observed damage and quantitative improvement compared to using pre- to co-event coherence loss as a damage proxy.


Damage mapping, interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), machine learning

Publication Details


IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing





Date Published


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