Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Postdoc Geoinformatics for disaster damage and recovery assessment, University of Twente

Application deadline: 30 June 2019

One of the knowledge fields of the Faculty ITC of the University of Twente (UT; www.itc.nl) is disaster risk management, with different chair groups covering hazard modelling, risk assessment, risk-based urban planning, the role of climate change, but also the link to the humanitarian sector/ the Red Cross. The use of geoinformation is what all research groups have in common. More widely within the UT our research is further strengthened by a research center on resilience engineering, but also work on risk economics.

The focus field of the chair group for this postdoc is the use of remote sensing for the assessment of changing hazards, elements-at-risk, vulnerability and capacity. This could be before a disaster as a contribution to elements-at-risk mapping and characterization, e.g. using machine learning approaches, but also for post-disaster damage assessment and recovery assessment. Extensive research with several completed PhD projects has been done in the last ca. 15 years in this group. The initial focus has moved from the use of satellite imagery to data acquired with drones/UAV, and in ongoing work we also link image-based recovery assessment to macroeconomic modelling to explain the observed recovery. Much of our work has been done in the context of European research projects (FP7/H2020), for example RECONASS (www.reconass.eu), INACHUS (www.inachus.eu), or the ongoing PANOPTIS (www.panoptis.eu) project that focuses on damage to road infrastructure. In September we will start another project that will focus on supporting first responders, including through the use of indoor UAV swarms (see https://www.ingenious-first-responders.eu/). In addition we have carried out large international risk management projects, such as CHARIM (www.charim.net), or a national-scale multi-hazard risk assessment project in Georgia (http://drm.cenn.org/).

Our research in recent years has focused primarily on the use of advanced computer vision methods for efficient 3D scene reconstruction from stereo imagery, as well as on machine learning to detect damage. Several articles using CNN-based deep learning were recently published by the group. Lastly, the group is also interested in the use of VGI/citizen science to support pre-disaster risk assessment and post-disaster response and recovery, in particular focusing on human factors questions.

Funding is now available for a 2-year full-time postdoc to help advance the research in the group. Given the wide scope of problems addressed and methods used in this chair group, the postdoc can focus on one of the topics below:

  1. support the ongoing research projects by adding novel and relevant additional research questions that benefit from the ongoing work and expertise in the project consortia;
  2. support development of machine learning approaches for generation of elements-at-risk and hazard databases using cloud-based computing tools;
  3. expand our research on recovery assessment that links advanced remote sensing and economic modelling;
  4. help build up a knowledge node in the field of impact assessment and support of auditing and accountability needs with remote sensing, for example to provide impact evidence for donors who support post-disaster recovery;
  5. help expand our knowledge on image-based functional damage and recovery assessment, i.e. going beyond the traditional focus on physical features; or
  6. develop research that addresses the geoinformation needs of humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross, building on existing links with 510 global (www.510.global).

Your profile

We are looking for a creative and highly motivated candidate. You should:

  • have a PhD degree related to geoinformatics, with proven expertise in areas such as advanced remote sensing, computer vision or photogrammetry, and good programming skills.
  • prior expertise in disaster risk management will be an asset, though the range of possible research topics allows for some diversity in backgrounds.
  • interest to work in a highly international environment.

More information: https://www.utwente.nl/en/organization/careers/!/922747/postdoc-geoinformatics-for-disaster-damage-and-recovery-assessment

Thursday 6 June 2019