Post-Disaster Recovery Assessment with Machine Learning-Derived Land Cover and Land Use Information

M. Sheykhmousa, N. Kerle*, M. Kuffer, S. Ghaffarian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
160 Downloads (Pure)


Post-disaster recovery (PDR) is a complex, long-lasting, resource intensive, and poorly understood process. PDR goes beyond physical reconstruction (physical recovery) and includes relevant processes such as economic and social (functional recovery) processes. Knowing the size and location of the places that positively or negatively recovered is important to effectively support policymakers to help readjust planning and resource allocation to rebuild better. Disasters and the subsequent recovery are mainly expressed through unique land cover and land use changes (LCLUCs). Although LCLUCs have been widely studied in remote sensing, their value for recovery assessment has not yet been explored, which is the focus of this paper. An RS-based methodology was created for PDR assessment based on multi-temporal, very high-resolution satellite images. Different trajectories of change were analyzed and evaluated, i.e., transition patterns (TPs) that signal positive or negative recovery. Experimental analysis was carried out on three WorldView-2 images acquired over Tacloban city, Philippines, which was heavily affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Support vector machine, a robust machine learning algorithm, was employed with texture features extracted from the grey level co-occurrence matrix and local binary patterns. Although classification results for the images before and four years after the typhoon show high accuracy, substantial uncertainties mark the results for the immediate post-event image. All land cover (LC) and land use (LU) classified maps were stacked, and only changes related to TPs were extracted. The final products are LC and LU recovery maps that quantify the PDR process at the pixel level. It was found that physical and functional recovery can be mainly explained through the LCLUC information. In addition, LC and LU-based recovery maps support a general and a detailed recovery understanding, respectively. It is therefore suggested to use the LC and LU-based recovery maps to monitor and support the short and the long-term recovery, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1174
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number10
Early online date17 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • post-disaster recovery assessment
  • land cover and land use based recovery maps
  • machine Learning
  • multi-temporal worldview-2 imagery
  • SVM
  • super typhoon haiyan
  • the Philippines


Dive into the research topics of 'Post-Disaster Recovery Assessment with Machine Learning-Derived Land Cover and Land Use Information'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this