Automated detection of exposed reinforcement in post-earthquake safety and structural evaluations Conference Paper uri icon


  • Copyright 2011 by Research Publishing Services. Post-earthquake structural safety evaluations are currently performed manually by a team of certified inspectors and/or structural engineers. This process is time-consuming and costly, keeping owners and occupants from returning to their businesses and homes. Automating these evaluations would enable faster, and potentially more consistent, relief and response processes. In order to do this, the detection of exposed reinforcing steel is of utmost significance. This paper presents a novel method of detecting exposed reinforcement in concrete columns for the purpose of advancing practices of structural and safety evaluation of buildings after earthquakes. Under this method, the binary image of the reinforcing area is first isolated using a state-of-the-art adaptive thresholding technique. Next, the ribbed regions of the reinforcement are detected by way of binary template matching. Finally, vertical and horizontal profiling are applied to the processed image in order to filter out any superfluous pixels and take into consideration the size of reinforcement bars in relation to that of the structural element within which they reside. The final result is the combined binary image disclosing only the regions containing rebar overlaid on top of the original image. The method is tested on a set of images from the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Preliminary test results convey that most exposed reinforcement could be properly detected in images of moderately-to-severely damaged concrete columns.

published proceedings

  • ISEC 2011 - 6th International Structural Engineering and Construction Conference: Modern Methods and Advances in Structural Engineering and Construction

author list (cited authors)

  • German, S., Brilakis, I., & Desroches, R.

complete list of authors

  • German, S||Brilakis, I||Desroches, R

publication date

  • January 2011