The NSF-funded NHERI SimCenter, headquartered at UC Berkeley and led by PI Sanjay Govindjee, launched a project on Zooniverse, a crowd-sourcing website that leverages volunteer efforts of the general public to contribute to research projects. The Zooniverse project, “Building Detective for Disaster Preparedness,” is led by Dr. Charles Wang, a SimCenter post-doctoral researcher; its goal is to collect annotations of street-view images for use in regional natural hazards simulations -- hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes. The annotated images will be used to train the SimCenter research tool, Building Recognition Using Artificial Intelligence at Large Scale (BRAILS), which utilizes advanced artificial intelligence methods to enhance building inventory databases used in SimCenter’s natural hazards regional analysis tools. The overarching aim of these tools is to provide decision makers with accurate predictions of regional response to catastrophic events.
The Zooniverse annotation process is simple and intuitive. A short tutorial can be viewed to better understand tasks, and a field guide provides annotation examples. A few moments of your time will have an impact in improving computational simulation so that engineers and decision makers can better understand the consequences of natural hazards on risk-prone regions.