In April this year, the city of Kumamoto, Japan, suffered a series of large earthquakes. Google managed to capture aerial imagery of the city essentially during the event, after the first major event but before the largest shock and then captured another set of imagery from after the event. We had a look at what damage could be seen in the imagery, including a large number of landslides, collapsed buildings and a derailed train. From the overhead imagery it wasn’t easy to see the extent of the damage to buildings, even though we knew, based on ground level imagery, that there was severe damage in some locations. Now Google has updated the 3D imagery for part of Kumamoto with imagery captured after the event, and the extent of the damage to buildings is much clearer, especially because the roofs have been patched with light blue tarpaulin that is highly visible.
The suburb of Mashiki was the worst hit, and many houses are damaged beyond repair.
A historical building known as Janes’ Residence was completely destroyed. The rubble has been covered in the light blue tarpaulins
The Janes’ Residence was the first western-style house built in Kumamoto dating from 1871. It used to be in the grounds of Kumamoto Castle, but has been moved a number of times. Read more about it here.
Kumamoto Castle was badly damaged by the earthquake.
We have also created a Google Earth tour of the area showing all the light blue roofs, which you can view in Google Earth with this KML file or see in the YouTube video below.
About Timothy Whitehead
Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.