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Front. Built Environ. | doi: 10.3389/fbuil.2019.00005

Recent Advances in Geotechnical Post-Earthquake Reconnaissance

  • 1University of California, Berkeley, United States
  • 2Georgia Institute of Technology, United States
  • 3University of Texas at Austin, United States

Field observations are particularly important in geotechnical engineering, because it is difficult to replicate in the laboratory the response of soil deposits built by nature over thousands of years. Detailed mapping of damaged and undamaged areas provides the data for the well-documented case histories that drive the development of many current design procedures. Thus, documenting key insights from earthquakes advances research and practice. This has been a primary goal of the National Science Foundation-sponsored Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association since its inception almost 20 years ago. New technologies are continually employed by GEER teams to capture ground deformation and its effects. These technologies include Light Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and Structure-from-Motion (SfM) image processing techniques for generating and visualizing three-dimensional point cloud data sets. New sensor deployment platforms such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are playing an integral role in the data collection process. Unanticipated observations from major events often catalyze new research directions. An overview of some of these recent integrated technology deployments and their role at the core of earthquake disaster analysis is presented. Important advancements are possible through post-event research if their effects are captured and shared effectively.

Keywords: geotechnical, Earthquakes, Natural disaster, Reconnaissance, digital data sets

Received: 10 Oct 2018; Accepted: 09 Jan 2019.

Edited by:

Charles K. Huyck, ImageCat (United States), United States

Reviewed by:

Emmanouil Rovithis, Institute of Engineering Seismology and Earthquake Engineering (ITSAK), Greece
Adel Abdelnaby, University of Memphis, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Bray, Frost, Rathje and Garcia. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Jonathan D. Bray, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, 94720, California, United States,