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Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Soil liquefaction often occurs as a secondary hazard during earthquakes and can lead to significant structural and infrastructure damage. Liquefaction is most often documented through field reconnaissance and recorded as point locations. Complete liquefaction inventories across the impacted area are rare but valuable for developing empirical liquefaction prediction models. Remote sensing analysis can be used to rapidly produce the full spatial extent of liquefaction ejecta after an event to inform and supplement field investigations. Visually labeling liquefaction ejecta from remotely sensed imagery is time-consuming and prone to human error and inconsistency. This study uses a partially labeled liquefaction inventory created from visual annotations by experts and proposes a pixel-based approach to detecting unlabeled liquefaction using advanced machine learning and image processing techniques, and to generating an augmented inventory of liquefaction ejecta with high spatial completeness. The proposed methodology is applied to aerial imagery taken from the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and considers the available partial liquefaction labels as high-certainty liquefaction features. This study consists of two specific comparative analyses. (1) To tackle the limited availability of labeled data and their spatial incompleteness, a semi-supervised self-training classification via Linear Discriminant Analysis is presented, and the performance of the semi-supervised learning approach is compared with supervised learning classification. (2) A post-event aerial image with RGB (red-green-blue) channels is used to extract color transformation bands, statistical indices, texture components, and dimensionality reduction outputs, and performances of the classification model with different combinations of selected features from these four groups are compared. Building footprints are also used as the only non-imagery geospatial information to improve classification accuracy by masking out building roofs from the classification process. To prepare the multi-class labeled data, regions of interest (ROIs) were drawn to collect samples of seven land cover and land use classes. The labeled samples of liquefaction were also clustered into two groups (dark and light) using the Fuzzy C-Means clustering algorithm to split the liquefaction pixels into two classes. A comparison of the generated maps with fully and manually labeled liquefaction data showed that the proposed semi-supervised method performs best when selected high-ranked features of the two groups of statistical indices (gradient weight and sum of the band squares) and dimensionality reduction outputs (first and second principal components) are used. It also outperforms supervised learning and can better augment the liquefaction labels across the image in terms of spatial completeness.

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Copyright: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Publisher’s version of record:

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Remote Sensing

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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