NASA scientists are helping local and federal agencies assess the extent of the damage in Puerto Rico following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake and hundreds of aftershocks. Using synthetic aperture radar data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech in Pasadena, California created a new damage map that includes the southwestern coast near the main quake's epicenter.
The ARIA team compared post-quake satellite data acquired on Jan. 14 with data as far back as Sept. 2019 to produce the map. The color variation from yellow to dark red indicates increasingly more significant damage. Their analysis shows that Guanica, west of the city of Ponce, was particularly hard hit.
The map covers an area of 107 by 47 miles (172 by 76 kilometers), shown with the large red polygon, with each pixel measuring about 100 feet (30 meters) across. The data is most sensitive to building damage rather than small scale changes or partial structural damage. It is also less reliable over heavy vegetation. Even with these limitations, the map can still serve an important role in identifying the areas that may need help the most.
The map contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data processed by ESA and analyzed by ARIA team scientists at NASA JPL and Caltech.
More information on ARIA can be found here: https://aria.jpl.nasa.gov