Earth and Planetary Science
EPS Geophysics

Google Street View as a Teaching Tool for Assesing Earthquake Building Damage

Wednesday, November 3, 2021
headshot of EPS graduate student Will Davis

Damage to infrastructure is one of the most visible impacts that earthquakes have on our daily lives. For this reason, introductory undergraduate courses in seismology and related fields often cover earthquake damage in relation to seismic hazard and risk. This topic is commonly introduced by viewing examples of damage, either through static images or videos. Subsequent coursework frequently involves excursions to the field for in-person site inspections and relating the damage to seismic intensity and other parameters of strong ground motion. These field visits provide students with valuable opportunities to apply classroom knowledge to real-world settings. At the time of writ-ing, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has forced many university classes to cancel field visits, depriving students of these experiences. In this EduQuakes article, I present a lesson plan that attempts to simulate a field visit for assessing earthquake damage in an online setting using the interactive online resource Google Street View to view an area before and after an earthquake. This format facilitates active and exploratory learning and encourages students to build the necessary skills required for further stud-ies in more advanced geoscience courses. I include the lesson plan and a compilation of relevant resources in the supplemental material to this article.

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Google Street View as a Teaching Tool for Assesing Earthquake Building Damage