An interdisciplinary group of researchers, Dr. ZhiQiang Chen (Civil Engineering), Dr. Yugyung Lee (Computer Science), and their graduate students, Jianfei (Max) Chen (Electrical Engineering) and Feichen Shen (Computer Science), at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering have developed a new approach for reporting damaged infrastructure: a smartphone-based application geared towards real-time damage quantification and collaborative decision making. According to the ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the GPA for the infrastructure’s condition and performance is currently rated at a D+. In addition, the monetary investment needed to repair the infrastructure to maintain a functional state (that is, to get a grade of B) is $3.6 trillion by the year 2020. Such a tremendous investment demands a critical need – innovative and rapid technologies for civil infrastructure condition assessment. Different from a Google Street View application, the app seamlessly integrates mobile imaging, interactive analytics, and cloud computing, all processed in the real time.
On Aug 30, Dr. Chen and his student Max, tested out this program using an Android tablet and their personal smartphones. Walking in the sun and sweating, they created a damage map for a section of 51st street in Kansas City by collecting more than 100 images. These images, automatically sent to a cloud storage system, will serve as a benchmark database for interactive mobile and cloud-based image analysis and damage quantification. Eventually, Dr. Chen and Dr. Lee are expecting to continue augmenting the intelligence level of the application and provide service to the broader community.