Wartman, J., Berman, J. W., Bostrom, A., Miles, S., Olsen, M., Gurley, K., Irish, J., Lowes, L., Tanner, T., Dafni, J., Grilliot, M., Lyda, A. & Peltier, J. (2020). Research Needs, Challenges, and Strategic Approaches for Natural Hazards and Disaster Reconnaissance. Frontiers in Built Environment, 6, 573068. (Open Access)
Natural hazards and disaster reconnaissance investigations have provided many lessons for the research and practice communities and have greatly improved our scientific understanding of extreme events. Yet, many challenges remain for these communities, including improving our ability to model hazards, make decisions in the face of uncertainty, enhance community resilience, and mitigate risk. State-of-the-art instrumentation and mobile data collection applications have significantly advanced the ability of field investigation teams to capture quickly perishable data in post-disaster settings. The NHERI RAPID Facility convened a community workshop of experts in the professional, government, and academic sectors to determine reconnaissance data needs and opportunities, and to identify the broader challenges facing the reconnaissance community that hinder data collection and use. Participants highlighted that field teams face many practical and operational challenges before and during reconnaissance investigations, including logistics concerns, safety issues, emotional trauma, and after-returning, issues with data processing and analysis. Field teams have executed many effective missions. Among the factors contributing to successful reconnaissance are having local contacts, effective teamwork, and pre-event training. Continued progress in natural hazard reconnaissance requires adaptation of new, strategic approaches that acquire and integrate data over a range of temporal, spatial, and social scales across disciplines.