Lots of satellite images of this disaster, including very high-resolution images from Geoeye and DigitalGlobe, are now becoming publicly available, showing from above the destructive power of the brutal one-two punch Japan has endured. Here’s a panoramic before/after view of what used to be the pretty little coastal neighborhood of Arahama in the city of Sendai, 80 miles due west from the quake’s epicenter and in the immediate path of the nearly 30-foot-high tsunami that swept the coast. The ocean is at lower right.
Many more before/after high-resolution satellite images can be seen by Google Earth users if you download this KML file from Google’s information-packed 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Crisis Response website. The KML includes low-resolution MODIS and radar images too, and reports from folks on the ground that are being collected using Ushahidi, the same tool we’ve deployed to track impacts in the Gulf during the BP oil spill.
Don’t use Google Earth? There are several sites featuring collections of high-resolution images:
- Google has created a sizable gallery of before/after image pairs
- DigitalGlobe’s website hosts a small gallery of post-tsunami images; more in Flickr
- The New York Times has an interactive gallery with a very handy slider-bar feature to toggle between before/after images
- ABC News (Australia) has a similar interactive collection with an even easier slider feature.
Let us know if you find more useful images. Natural disasters aren’t our main focus here at SkyTruth, but if we can see a way to help when they occur we’ll do what we can.