Local modeling

The government will use 3D modeling of the city to better dispose of disaster waste

Japan plans to launch an experimental project in the new fiscal year from April that will help predict the amount of waste generated during a large-scale disaster and find the most efficient way to dispose of it.

This will be the first experience using a 3D city model – a project recreating a city in a digital space. The program aims to develop a system to accelerate the disposal of waste, which is considered essential for rapid recovery and reconstruction of disaster areas.

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, approximately 20 million tons of waste, such as debris and damaged furniture, were generated in the affected areas, in addition to tsunami sediments, hampering recovery and relief efforts.

If a major earthquake occurs in the Nankai pit, the Ministry of Environment estimates that around 250 million tonnes of debris will be generated, more than 10 times the waste created by the 2011 disaster.

The experiment is part of the “Plateau” project of the Ministry of Regional Planning, Transport and Tourism, which recreates a city in three dimensions. Information can be added to the system to help assess the fragility of specific buildings based on the number of years since their construction, their use and the materials they are made of.

The system will be used to predict which buildings could be totally or partially destroyed based on various scenarios – a potential Nankai Trough mega earthquake, information about past earthquakes and the liquefaction that occurred as a result of major earthquakes.

Based on the results, the system will calculate the amount of disaster waste that would be generated.

Users can specify the area where the experiment will be conducted, which will allow them to understand if a specific area needs more or less temporary storage sites for waste.

The project will be launched to help consider ways to effectively dispose of disaster waste by examining where to set up a temporary storage site, and when and how to transport waste to actual disposal sites.

The experiment will be carried out in cooperation with private companies and local authorities. Technical information such as calculation methods will be compiled later and made available to the public so that municipalities across the country can use it.

In the future, the government plans to use satellite data to determine the amount of disaster waste following a large-scale earthquake.

“The problem of disaster waste disposal should be solved based on data,” said a land ministry official.We hope the experience will help municipalities develop disaster prevention policies and develop nationwide 3D city models.

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