This paper presents an automated way to extract the damaged buildings images after earthquakes from social media platforms such as Twitter and thus identify the particular user posts containing such images. After significant earthquakes, we can see images posted on social media platforms by individuals and media agencies owing to the mass usage of smartphones these days. These images can be utilized to provide information about the shaking damage in the earthquake region both to the public and research community, and potentially to guide rescue work.
Using transfer learning and ~ 6500 manually labelled images, we trained a deep learning model to recognize images with damaged buildings in the scene. The trained model achieved good performance when tested on newly acquired images of earthquakes at different locations and when ran in near real-time on Twitter feed after the 2020 M7.0 earthquake in Turkey. Furthermore, to better understand how the model makes decisions, the authors also implemented the Grad-CAM method to visualize the important regions on the images that facilitate the decision.