Earthquake Response

    Frames from a video sequence of the actual collapse (right) and INACHUS collapse simulation software.

    The second INACHUS field test, held on May 31, 2017, in Lyon, France, demonstrated the project’s wide area surveillance solutions and collapse modeling tools to an audience of more than 16 users specialized in urban search and rescue (USaR) operations and structural engineers from Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France.

    In collaboration with CARDEM demolition company, INACHUS partners identified a building in Saint-Fons appropriate for the second field test and created a scenario for its collapse that mimicked earthquake conditions.

    One of the goals of the field test was to demonstrate that INACHUS technological solutions could help USaR professionals improve their situational awareness. This should be achieved by creating 3D models of the target building, which could in return:

    • aid in damage assessment,
    • identify the location of potential voids in an easier way,
    • assess the stability of the structure, and
    • aid in determining possible rescue paths.

    Surveillance tools and 3D mapping

    During the field test, users observed the imagery and 3D models created by INACHUS tools. Two unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights — one with a laser scanner and another with an optical digital camera — took place over the collapsed building. The same set up could easily be applied for wide-area surveillance of an entire affected area following an earthquake. Data was also collected from a ground-based laser scanner. The three data sets were then combined, and each served to highlight different features of the collapsed building.

    The laser scanners were using their ability to distinguish between different types of objects, for example, people, various building materials, vegetation, even precipitation, and identifying large pieces of (building) material within the overall rubble pile.

    Consequently, users were provided with the ability to identify and highlight items in various colors and thus have a clearer understanding of the rubble pile. This can help rescuers get a clear view of the rubble and assist in determining the stability of the structure.

    On the other hand, the UAV imaging tool quickly provides an image of the collapsed building, identifying the damaged areas, establishing a percentage of destruction, and helping to prioritize the zone of intervention for USaR teams.

    Building collapse simulation software

    In the field test, participants could also get a glimpse of the INACHUS tools that simulate building collapse caused from an earthquake or explosion. INACHUS partner Applied Science International (ASI) created a pre-demolition 3D model of the target building based on precise measurements taken from a site visit. Applying within the INACHUS tools the known variables of the explosion provided by the demolition company led to a model that matched in a very large scale the actual rubble pile. The tool’s purpose is to aid USaR teams in finding possible survivable spaces within a collapsed structure when applying the phenomenon variables in the INACHUS simulation tools. 

    The primary goal of the field test was to determine if INACHUS technological solutions could identify possible voids in the rubble where victims may be able to survive, or which rescuers could use when entering the rubble.

    After a visual investigation of the building, users could evaluate whether the pile of rubble and the present voids corresponded with the INACHUS models and simulation results. Participants could experience that the models offered a realistic view of the collapsed building and the possible voids within it. Participants in the event agreed that INACHUS could aid in decisions related to victim localization and structural integrity during USaR missions.

    Finally, progress on the Emergency Support System (ESS) was shown, allowing participants to digitally complete the INSARAG forms required during large-scale response missions. With INACHUS, data is shared instantly and can be used by various levels of command to greatly improve situational awareness and response coordination. Further aiding in these areas is the Common Operational Picture (COP) interface, which shows sectors and corresponding activity within sectors.

    Moreover, the 3D point clouds and simulation models could be visualized in the post-processing stage of the pilot demonstration, which demonstrates the effort that is made within the project with regard to integration of the project tools. Participants were interested in development of these tools, which they anticipate adding significant value to their current operations.

    Participants reacted positively to project developments shown in Lyon. They offered useful feedback for continued progress and expressed interest in remaining involved in the project’s development.

    The focus of the first field test, held in Ågesta, Sweden in June 2016, was on victim localization tools. The focus of the second field test was on wide-area assessment tools and collapse modeling tools. A third field test will be held in April 2018 in the Netherlands, demonstrating the first integrated version of the INACHUS tools. The project’s final field test, to be held along the French and Italian border in Winter 2018, will demonstrate the fully integrated INACHUS system.

    For more information about the INACHUS project, visit

    Information provided by Applied Science International, LLC                           (